Daily Archives: October 9, 2015

It’s always in the last place you look



Stonington man’s body found in woodchipper.


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♫ Well I had a little dunk about an hour ago, and it went right to my head ♫

Stamford / Greenwich police respond to late-night report of a car plunging off a pier, find driver who thought “there might have been a passenger, I’m not sure.”

I wouldn’t want to cast aspersions on the unfortunate man, but someone who (a) drives into the water and (b) doesn’t remember whether anyone else was in the car with him (turns out, there wasn’t) may have a bigger problem than a flooded engine compartment.


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Knowledge that he is to be hanged in fortnight, sir, concentrates a man’s mind wonderfully

18 Hassake Rd

18 Hassake Rd

18 Hassake Road, $1.350, reports a pending sale after just 8 days on the market. An in-house Sotheby’s transaction, with probably very little negotiation: the foreclosure sale was scheduled for October 24th.


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Fortunately, there’s lots of foreclosure news to keep this blog at least vaguely connected to real estate

M5r. Rus Gerson, Greenwich

Mr. Russ Gerson, Greenwich

29 Alden Road, occupied by one Russ Gerson, although title might be held by one of his corporate entities, is scheduled to be sold by court auction this coming November 14, but don’t ready your check book just yet: these things are usually postponed and delayed for years.

29 Alden’s Mr. Gerson has an interesting history, one that should probably have seen him ensconced on Round Hill Road with his peers, rather than plumped down next to the Greenwich Office Park, but there’s no accounting for taste. The property was listed by David Ogilvy and sold to Gerstner by David Ogilvy in 2003 for $3.114 million.

In 2005, Gerson borrowed $3.944 million against the house, which is a neat trick, and defaulted on that loan sometime thereafter. He tried to sell the house at various times, beginning at $6.495, promoted mainly as  building site (3.37 acres in RA-1 zone, will support a house of 19,800 sq.ft.) but no one bit, and the price steadily declined.

Lah dee dah dee – all standard fare, for ur town, but looking up Gerson just for fun, he turns out to have been a busy financial man, with several angry clients as a result, including former Senator (Wisconsin) Robert Karston, who sued Gerson for $195,000 of unpaid consulting fees in 2013. Here’s an excerpt from his unauthorized biography:

Oct. 2, 2013 – PRLog — Russ Gerson, a.k.a. Russel D. Gerson, Greenwich, Connecticut USA
resident was the founder and man behind the now defunct companies The
Gerson Group, Gerson Global Strategic Advisors and Gerson Global
Advisors, LLC.  The Gerson group of companies has advertised company
offices in New York, New York, Washington, DC and London, UK.

In a recent March 2013 deposition, Mr. Gerson advised that his former
companies are no longer earning any revenue and have ceased
operations.  The Gerson group of companies was advertised to have
locations in Washington, DC, New York and London.  Mr. Gerson noted
his small team primarily only worked out of a corporate office in New
York and may not have conducted actual business operations in the
locations that they publicized on the company website.

Russ Gerson describes his business experience, “As a leading senior
advisor and consultant to corporate and global financial services
firms, as well as prominent political and government officials of both
major United States political parties”.  Mr. Gerson has noted on his
various public profiles that he led presidential planning transition
teams for numerous presidential nominees, is a trustee of The Hudson
Institute and a member of the Executive Roundtable of the Republican
Governors Association.   Extensive searches of third party public
filings have not confirmed these current assertions.

However, public records do indicate Russ Gerson and his alter-ego
companies have been parties to numerous lawsuits.   A number of these
lawsuits have resulted in judgment.As recently as 2013 , former U.S.
Sen. Robert Kasten, who represented Wisconsin in Congress until 1993,
says in NY Supreme Court filing that Gerson Global Advisors owes him
$195,000 for consulting fees.  Additional NY Supreme Court filing,
Brown Lloyd James V Gerson Global Strategic Advisors details judgment
enforcement in the amount of $261,668.16.

Despite these apparent business setbacks, Mr. Gerson is trying again
with his new venture in the aptly named Phoenix Star Capital.  Russ
Gerson has published that he is the Chairman of Phoenix Star Capital –
a multifaceted asset management firm focused on investment
opportunities across the credit spectrum. Phoenix Star plans to launch
collateralized debt obligation and distressed debt funds, as well as
providing consultancy services.   Phoenix Star Capital has publicly
announced plans to open a London office within two years and hopes to
profit by buying debt securities backed by loans that banks are
offloading to improve their capital ratios as British bankruptcy codes
have been modified and the group feels there are good opportunities in
mezzanine lending.


UPDATE: Oops! Further research for “Russ Gerson, defendant” turns up a slew of lawsuits brought against him by Las Vegas casinos for failure to honor his makers. Bad boy.


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On a slow, gray day with no other real estate news …

Must be the columns that tricked Sotheby's into thinking it was a mansion

Must be the columns that tricked Sotheby’s into thinking it was a mansion

Here’s a foreclosure to discuss, a pending sale of  5 Tree Top Terrace, in Glenville, last asking price, $1.320 million (Sotheby’s calls it a “luxurious Greenwich Mansion”, but I think that bit of hyperbole is intended for out-of-town buyers).

The debtor and former owner, a Mr. Eric Chung, appears to have purchased this new for $674,000 in 1995. In 2005 he tried unsuccessfully to sell it for $2.095. I saw it then, and while it wasn’t a disaster, it didn’t bring to mind a “luxurious Greenwich mansion”, and I thought it overpriced. As did the market, obviously.

In 2006, Mr. Chung managed to get a loan on the property in the amount of $1.8 million, a loan that went into default at least as soon as 2009, when foreclosure procedures were initiated. A judgment of strict foreclosure was entered in 2010 and that should have settled the matter, but Chung filed for bankruptcy, which stops all other civil proceedings.

In 2012, bankruptcy ended, another judgment of strict foreclosure was entered, but various dilatory motions: for a rehearing, for objections to the appraisal, etc. were thrown about, and only on August 11, 2014 was a third and what appears to be final judgment of strict foreclosure entered.

So six years, start to finish, to complete what was essentially a simple, straight-forward debt, all properly documented, with no denial of the debt due. The bank that so improvidently loaned the $1.8 million in 2006 is long gone, a victim of its and other lenders of its type’s blundering, but Deutsche Bank has been carrying it on its books all that time and, I suspect (I don’t know, he may have vacated years ago) the debtor has been living rent free.

Of course, Deutsche Bank has been taking its own sweet time disposing of its property since it received clear title a year ago August, but this still strikes me as a terribly inefficient and expensive way to conduct the legal system.

Of course, had the Sotheby's copywriter ventured out back, she might have used a different term

Of course, had the Sotheby’s copywriter ventured out back, she might have used a different term


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I think I understand the modern PC rules

Hold it right there, cracker

Hold it right there, cracker

Florists and bakers cannot refuse to provide their services to gay weddings, but a yoga studio can bar participation to heterosexual white people and allow only queers, transvestites and “people of color” (which almost certainly doesn’t include Asians, just as Asians may be, and are, discriminated against in college admissions).

Why? Because straight whites and successful Asians aren’t victims, while the rest of the population is.


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Dribbles of hope

Just what the doctor (didn't) order

Just what the doctor (didn’t) order

So I’m up here in Portland, Maine, this week, and volunteered at a soup kitchen yesterday (don’t let on, it’ll ruin my image). As I was helping unload donated items, I came across a case of these “purges” – according to the instructions, you drink six bottles of the stuff in a day and your body will be purified. Leaving alone the fact that purges are useless and unnecessary, what kind of silly do-gooder thinks that a homeless drug addict needs to void his bowels constantly over an 18-hour period, or would be welcomed by his shelter mates if he did? Unless I see some Greenwich ladies in Spandex show up in this fair city, soon, I’m tossing these in the dumpster next time I volunteer.


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