Oh, just one more bash at the Greenwich Junior League and then we can move on to real estate

Front-Onx-ball

Greenwich Junior League Cotillion, 2013

I had dinner with Pal Nancy and the girls last night, and Nancy reminded me of the time in 1983 when, with much misgiving, she accepted an invitation to join the JLG (it was invitation only, back then). After two years of JLG nonsense she’d had enough, and the birth of our second child gave her the perfect excuse to resign.

The perfect excuse, perhaps, but not to the Junior League, which demanded  she pay a $500 quitter’s penalty before they’d accept it. Her pleas that we were a single-income family with two infants to care for fell on deaf ears: pay the penalty, she was warned, or she would be ruined in Greenwich society and her name put about as a deadbeat.

I pointed out to Nancy that she was eligible to join the Mayflower Society – not that she ever would – and members of my own family were Sons of the Revolution, so the family name could easily survive the scorn of a group of mean spirited nouveau arrivistes with long legs, genetically developed by generations of their ancestors walking, rather than riding around Europe. But Nancy was new to town, and nervous about the threats thrown at her by these wretched people, so we caved, and paid the money.

That, of course, was not the Nancy of today, and the story was almost forgotten, but being called a bully by certain JLG members last week for picking on their dreadful social club brought it back; if I’m a “cyber-bully”, according to these parasites, what do they consider behavior that threatens a young women with slanders against her name and her exclusion from “proper society”?

A pox on their enchanted forest.

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75 Comments

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75 responses to “Oh, just one more bash at the Greenwich Junior League and then we can move on to real estate

  1. AusJayus

    They are completely irrelevant (see photos). They are nothing. There are much bigger fish to fry.

  2. Anonymous

    What a sad, pathetic story CF. The Junior League continue to be bullies—and anyone currently in the know is aware of this. Its like high school with these ladies—with a queen bee and all their dreadful petty cliques within the group.

    BTW, what kind of “volunteer” group REQUIRES a member to annually pay $250 dues in order to donate TIME for the poor and good causes if it isn’t a bunch of wannabe society ladies. And, to think there was an “exit fee” in Nancy’s time. Bleh.

  3. OldTimeLeaguer

    I remember you trying to cheap out of the League and not honoring your commitments, despite being well able to afford it.

    Please understand little girl, the Prestige that comes with being a member of the League does not come for free.

    • another starbucks 4 me

      @oldtimeleaguer –> hahahahaahhaahhaahhahhaaaaaa! In-case there’s any confusion, I’m laughing AT you. Little girl, hahahahahaaaaa … gotta go the market’s coming alive.

    • AusJayus

      Your crew has already been vaporized. Other than in your own minds (or hiding out in your club), you all are irrelevant.

    • Walt

      Dude:

      PLEASE BE REAL! PLEASE BE REAL!! PLEASE BE REAL!!!

      If I tried my hardest, to write a parody of how a Junior Leaguer would respond to this, I could not have done it this well. THIS IS THE BESTEST EVER!! I bow down to OldTimeLeauger. THANK YOU!! BRILLIANT I SAY!!

      In the words of the late john Lennon “Living is easy with eyes closed”. THEY JUST CAN’T SEE IT!! Which is what makes it so funny. An oh so sad.

      Your Pal,
      Walt

    • AJ

      PRESTIGE? You wannabe. You pretend blueblood freak. How much does one pay for a fake coat of arms?

    • AJ

      Pretige? Perhaps, je ne sais quoi, circle jerk?

  4. Anonymous

    The JLG checked a box off on their tax return that they do not lobby politicians. I am not sure if they crossed over the line in the eyes of the IRS, when they advocated the pool, and I will let others figure that out. Nonetheless, I think they ethically did because adding a pool that most residents will never use impacts all homeowners in our mill rate. They should stay out of politics. Period. I have no use for these folks. I bet that other not for profits in town can provide the same or better outreach more effectively and with less bravado – and certainly with a lower cost.

  5. LAK

    What a bunch of snobs. This story makes me sick!

  6. Anonymous

    rolling on the ground laughing about how you snobs bully each other

    to the manor born?

    lol!

  7. Anonymous

    I always felt the junior league is for wanna be Greenwich women who have nothing better to do with their time! All the members I know – I wouldn’t waste a minute talking to them ! The exit fee of 500 was well worth it !!!

  8. Anonymous

    Normally I would stay out of these discussions, but the pool really ticked me off.

  9. Anonymous

    surely the jl’ers can coordinate weekend schedules to open up their own pools for recreation by the general public.

  10. Anonymous

    I find it so interesting how those who have money rely on that for their status, and those who don’t have to desperately scratch for something else to imbue them with it — in your case, the idea that the fact that your peasant ancestors happened to come to this country first, because they were unwanted in their home country, gives you some social standing. Weren’t your ancestors actors from Louisiana?

  11. Anonymous

    Walt, good point…..the Junior League, a so-called non-profit, crossed the boundary of the IRS law. They FULL OUT threatened the First Selectman, BET, and RTM for the immediate approval and full funding of the Byram Pool project. Even today, here in December, there are no pool building scope and costs plans provided by the Town—oh, but the Junior League coerced the Town leaders that the project had to be fully funded and approved despite scarce information otherwise they walk.

    • Anonymous

      This is where boards get into trouble. Especially when they do not understand their fiduciary responsibility or bother to understand the documents they are signing, such as a tax return. Furthermore, boards need to understand and operate to the spirit of their incorporation papers and their tax exempt certification with the IRS. This is where a boards nominating committee plays a key role of an organization. They are the starting point for ensuring that the board has the right players with the right skill sets on the ballot for election. Then voting members of the organization are the last stop for ensuring that the right people are elected. Unfortunately getting elected to many boards is a beauty contest, where the person is good looking, wealthy, or generally perceived high in social stature. Everyone wants to elect in their friends regardless of how their skill sets meet the organization’s needs. All of these attributes are great, but it does not mean that you will be a competent board member. Then the bad decisions start, and anyone that questions them gets shouted down or becomes persona non grata. I saw a bunch of telling things in their tax return which were missed. Regardless of the calculated percentage of “program expenses” the bread crumbs leave a trail that leave me to believe otherwise. At the end of the day, it comes down to the culture of the organization. Also, I will bet that only a few within the organization truly understand its finances and how money is spent, and only a smaller few in power really understand how much is spent effectively on outreach.

      This said, when petty emotions and desire to exercise influence override common sense responsibilities the trouble starts. My bet is that at least one person in the JLG room knew that lobbying for the pool was a bad idea, and they were ignored, outvoted, or just plain afraid to speak up.

      • Anonymous

        PS. Let me be clear, this is a board governance issue. I am sure that there are many wonderful volunteers supporting the JLG and are members in good faith. The board is responsible for running the organization.

      • Riverside Dog Walker

        My mind wandered off topic for a minute and I thought you were describing the Greenwich Board of Education. The shoe fits….

    • Anonymous

      Threatened to do what? Clobber Tesei with their Birkin bags?

  12. Non- Profit Tax Attorney

    Attention George Jepson, CT Attorney General

    Scam Charity Board Members to be revealed:

    Join us for our Annual JLG Holiday Party on December 17th at the Bruce Museum, 1 Museum Dr., Greenwich, 6-930pm to celebrate a fabulous 2015 and the start of 2016! The next Board of Directors will be revealed as we enjoy hors d’oeuvres catered by Food Design! Remember to wear your winter white!
    https://members.jlgreenwich.org/?nd=m_event_detail&key=3788

  13. Hypocrisy Hater

    As long as we are calling out offensive womens’ organizations, let me add the League of Women Voters, which puts forth a seemingly benign, bipartisan “get out the vote” mantra to “make democracy work,” but actually is a tool for the liberal-left Democratic Party line.

    Particularly offensive is their support for “common sense” controls on access to guns of all sorts, including the”assault weapons” ban and magazine capacity limits, as well as closing the non-existent “gun show loophole.” Our First Selectman embraces their platform.

    They are just another bunch of phony, sanctimonious twits. Just thinking about them, I feel the need to retreat to a safe place to shield myself from their micro-aggressions.,

  14. TruthExposer

    The JL President serial hijacks organizations with her own political programs and pet projects. She hijacked the PTA and stuffed the board with her buddies. Destroyed the PTA in the process. She’s on her second round with the JL and bullied the town into funding a pool with an unlimited budget. Thanks Mike Mason. This organization used to mean something and do something. Caddy from high school describes it best.

    • Anonymous

      See my post above. If the JLG is smart, they might want to think about canceling upcoming elections and put in a new slate. Board members whose terms are not up should think about resigning. It might be best if the president leaves the board, regardless what other insiders think.

      • My Three Cents

        What’s interesting to me is the lack of knowledge about this organization that all of you are bashing. The JLG board changes every year, they are slated and not elected (but voted on by the membership), and the entire organization is run by volunteers. There are many programs that many do not realize were started by the JLG, such as Kids in Crisis, the Bruce Park Playground, etc. I doubt many of the commenters on this string realize the true impact the organization has, including training and developing its members.

        What is unfortunate is that organizations like the JLG create programs such as Positively Me and Positively More (developing self-esteem in girls) that deal with cyber bullying, and yet their parents and their parents’ peers are the ones hiding behind screens insulting one another.

        • Anonymous

          Three cents. Follow the money, and I suspect that you will realize that the organizations you mention are not receiving the bulk of the funds from the JLG operating budget. How much did they give to kids in crisis versus spending on conferences? Just look at the tax return. Regarding bullying, it appears “Pal Nancy” was bullied quite well. JLG may do some good things, but the bigger question is how efficient are they at spending their money? I think not so good. Lobbying for the pool is inexcusable, and they crossed the line in many folks eyes. Now everyone’s dander is up. Did the women at JLG think this was not going to happen?

          The JLG would have been better off giving a quarter million to kids in crisis, but I know that that is not as sexy as a pool, while ultimate goal of forcing the rest of the taxpayers to pick up the annual maintenance tab. We have plenty of pools in town. And if you really want to advocate swimming, great. Everyone would have been best served if the JLG partnered with the YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls club, or even the High School, but I guess that was not a sexy project either.

          BTW, where were those conferences and who went? What was learned? Were they in Vegas, Disney, San Fran., Paris…?

        • Anonymous

          FYI, not all volunteer. If you check the tax return there are payroll expenses, along with $47k in conferences and another $20k in training. So total board and member education is $67k. This appears excessive and hints at self serving. With a $363 thousand expense budget, and looking at other line item expenses, it is obvious that relatively few dollars make it to outreach, such as kids in crisis. I suspect that you are involved with the organization, and that can be a good thing. I also suspect that you have relatively no insight to the actual expenses of the organization, and could be naïve to what is actually going on, good or bad, Have you looked at the 990 yourself? Has anyone explained to you what it means and how interpret?
          Recommendation to you. Get involved, shake some trees, help this organization reach its potential.

          I am sorry if you call this bashing. I view it as an unbiased view of the facts as presented in the 990.

          Click to access JLG-2013-990990TCT-990.pdf

        • My Three Cents

          Anonymous-

          If you do your homework, you’ll see that the JLG is not a charity such as the United Way (another great charitable organization, but a different model) because it fundraises for its own programs. These programs serve a variety of needs in the community, and are not meant to be run by the JLG in perpetuity. The model is to start a program, fundraise for it and get it up and running, and then “hand off” the program to another willing organization or entity in town. For example, Kids in Crisis or the Bruce Park Playground. This also does not mean that these programs are supported forever by the JLG; their responsibility is taken on either by themselves (as in KIC) or by the town (willingly) or other charitable organization. If there is not anyone willing to take on the program, or the board feels it is unsuccessful and unnecessary, it will be retired. Because of this, most of the income is not then donated to other organizations, it is used to run programs and train members.

          I’m too young to know about the days of Pal Nancy, but I’m pretty sure that if you delve into the history of almost any generations-old organization, you’ll find a few issues along the way. What is important is that the mistake was realized, and membership is open to any woman who would like to join. If the membership dues are an issue, they are willing to work with your financial situation.

          As for the money: something you’ll have to understand first is that the JLG sponsors multiple trainings for their members. You may consider this self-serving, but they are usually open to the public and help members develop skills they may not have exposure to elsewhere. I’d like to add a disclaimer that I’m no accountant, and have only relatively decent knowledge regarding the working budget (my own fault). However, I’m assuming that many of the trainings and general membership meetings (which almost always also have a training component, such as a women’s health panel or a childhood education panel) are grouped into the “conferences, conventions and meetings” section of the statement.

          The “bashing” is in the title of the article 🙂 And I’m already shaking trees.

  15. CatoRenasci

    The League as a source of social prestige in Greenwich? Who knew?

    Actually, anyone living in Greenwich with any real social cachet is involved in philanthropic and social activities in other cities. Oh, they belong to local clubs, but their main clubs are in New York (think Colony, Century) or elsewhere, and their daughters come out in private balls or in balls in New York, Charleston, or elsewhere. The men are Cincinnati, the women Colonial Dames (at least), and so on. They do not adorn the pages of Greenwich magazine.

    • Anonymous

      Apparently even the ghosts of those who have been deceased for at least 75 years can comment on blogs now!

    • Southern Belle

      Cato – No respectable Charleston Debutante Ball allows New Yorkers. Please…

      • CatoRenasci

        But you know very well that members of the most respectable Charleston families have lived in New York (and here in Greenwich) and have taken their daughters home to come out.

        • Ah, yes, Miss Rice Bowl Queen and her servants!

        • CatoRenasci

          C’mon Chris, you know that Scarlett was a Catholic from Georgia. Not one of those nice Maryland Catholics like the Carrolls, but an Irish Catholic, a nouveau riche. In her putative day, she would not have been received in Charleston, Richmond or Boston, and probably not even in New York or New Orleans (where the Catholicism would not have been the disability).

  16. Today it seems to be politically correct (FWIW-style) to criticize the Junior League. I’ll be the contrarian today and call bullshit.

    You may not like their waspy names, or their yoga pants, or their reputation for tea and cucumber sandwiches. But they are donating, from their own efforts and pockets, $2,500,000 for the pool, which is expected to be its full cost. The Town’s millions are for the park, amenities, parking, buildings, ball fields, remediation, etc. etc. We’re all for economizing on the Town costs. By the way, why can’t we have food trucks (a changing variety of foods, no Town employees, no Town capital costs for the concession equipment )? Instead we’ll have some boring menu from some local cheeseburger-flipper, on taxpayer-provided grills, fridges, equipment. And that equipment will be used only 100 days a year.

    For those who criticize the JL, we’re ready to listen to you….as soon as you deliver your $2,500,000.

  17. Anonymous

    Balzac….if the Junior League wants a $11.4 million construction pool with ongoing operating costs in the millions—they need to pony up more than $2.5m. The Town is many times donated projects that end up costing us MILLIONS….ergo Bruce Museum, Nathaniel Witherell, etc etc

  18. Walt

    There are a few issues being raised here that merit discussion.
    The first is the pros and cons of the pool project. That should be evaluated objectively, on its own merits. Saying the JL is “contributing” to the costs should be irrelevant. That is like saying the Lottery goes to pay for schools. Francis knows how that works. The schools didn’t get more money, they just said the lotto paid for schools, then spent the new money on other stuff. Money is fungible. The cost of the project went up by more than $2.5 million after the JL got involved. Funny how that works.
    The second, and perhaps more important question, is should the JL be involved in this project AT ALL? As individual taxpayers yes, but as a “charitable” organization? I think not. As someone pointed out, this is a very large project, with or without the JL’s “contribution” and impacts all of our taxes. It seems to me at least, that is beyond the scope of their charter, and inappropriate. As someone mentioned, if they want to go ahead and build their own pool, and maintain it, by all means do so.
    And I am willing to bet, when all is said and done, this project winds up costing north of $18.0 million.

    • Anonymous

      And IF it is out of their charter, then the board did not act within their fiduciary responsibility, and the entire board should resign. Pronto. I hope they have directors insurance and that board members have personal insurance too, covering board misdeeds, if it is ever deemed this is what happened.

  19. Cos Cobber

    If we build a pool – the town should not run it – at all. We should seek a third party to run and maintain the pool facility. The town parks department will treat the pool like a jobs program and in 10 years the place will be a mess. A third party would be better at coordinating programs, staffing and maintenance.

    That all said, we shouldn’t build a pool until we digest our public school maintenance needs. And even then, we probably shouldn’t build a pool.

    • Walt

      That makes total sense, actually, so it will never happen.

      Anyone who wants a pool has never owned a pool. Period. And don’t we have plenty of places for people to swim? Tods Point, Island Beach, both Y’s, GHS? And countless pool clubs that I don’t think are all that expensive. And everyone in Greenwich either has a pool, or is friends with someone who does. So why do we need a pool, and who is it for, and how does it benefit the town? Is it really the best use of our money?

      I agree that there are far more important projects that need to be tackled first. I doubt a pool would make the top 20 list.

      But I have an idea. YES THAT’S RIGHT!! Let’s BORROW THE MONEY!! But not $10 million, or an embarrassing $20 million. LET’S BORROW $2.0 BILLION!! Then we just don’t pay it back. Detroit did it. Puerto Rico is doing it. Hartford is on its way!! It’s “progressive” Economics 101. How is this not a GREAT IDEA!!

      Francis can explain it better than me. Comment Francis? Comment?

  20. This is all a bit overheated, this talk of fiduciary responsibility and resigning boards. Soon the Witherell board will come for its annual subsidy from the Town ($5.7 million loss this year: your RTM voted overwhelmingly to keep the nursing home as a town operation, and therefore approve the consequences). Surely the Witherell is lobbying, too. According to your busted logic, all the multitudes who want some $ from the town’s taxpayers are breaking the law. Have you seen the long list of non-profits who get money from the Town’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds? Are they all acting improperly by petitioning their government? Isn’t that a constitutional right?

    One more time: the pool ($2.5 million) is a subset of the park project ($9 or $11 million). Perhaps the park is overdone. But a $2.5 million private contribution is ……volunteerism, self-sacrifice, generosity, private citizens giving of their own money.

    I think Hayek, Friedman, Reagan, Thos. Jefferson, Chesterton, Edmund Burke, and Bush 41 would all approve of this point of light.

    What am I missing?

    • $8.9 million, barring further cost overruns (ha!), and assuming the Junior League actually comes up with the 90% of its pledge.

      • xyzzy

        I wish this blog had been around for the Stowell-McCulley agreement for the Greenwich Library.

        If this pool project makes everyone so mad, I can’t believe what that would have done.

        Thanks for the laugh today. It has been hoot reading this blog.

      • hmmm

        I say they don’t even come close

    • Anonymous

      oh that’s right Balzac….once Town P&R Dept saw the moola coming in from the Junior League—they went ahead and said all these other “enhancements” were vital and necessary. Thus, what once was a replacement for a simple pool—became a WATER PARK/POOL PROJECT that will, no doubt, be mostly used by NON RESIDENTS. Anyone see any updates on the Town access policy? I guess you won’t until its too late. Balzac, any way you slice it—this project was SUPER SIZED by the ladies alone of the Junior League who will be paying a mere fraction of the bill as they made their grandiose plans.

    • hmmm

      The RINO speaks again

  21. Anonymous

    This from the Nathaniel Witherell website:
    Owned and Operated by the Town of Greenwich. Serving the Community for over 100 years.

    The town owns it. The town does not own the JLG, and they should not be lobbying the town, which it appears by your own admission they do. And, apparently, you see nothing wrong with it. Sigh.

    Furthermore, not for profits submitting grant applications for programs and receiving funds does not constitute lobbying in itself. On the other hand, it appears the JLG, directly lobbied the town. So you points are irrelevant, unless I am missing something. Also, how much did they spend on conferences last year and what benefit did they provide? What members of the organization took advantage of those conferences? Do tell!

  22. OK, Anon., so you’re in favor of the taxpayer pouring $5.7 million annually into the Witherell, but not in favor of the Town accepting a promised gift of $2.5 million for a pool that will bring a little outdoor recreation and happiness to kids and adults?

    Financially- speaking, I don’t get it.

    • CatoRenasci

      I think the point is that without the League’s pushing the Cadillac (opps, in Greenwich, Mercedes) project, the Town would never have spent close to $9 million on the pool/park project. It’s like building a new school to get a big chunk of state money even though a renovation would do … and the net cost to the local taxpayer is still higher with the state money. Penny wise and pound foolish.

      As to Witherell, the buggers on the board lied to us, suggesting no more than a $1 million a year Town subsidy. Maybe the RTM should make an agreement with the board members to personally pay excess losses the way we cut a deal with the GOSA employees to pay for excess health premiums from going into the state plan….

  23. Anonymous

    Didn’t say that. I am not necessarily in favor of Witherell either. My point is that one entity is owned by the government and the JLG is not. Now can you answer the questions on conferences? The dollar amount is in the 990, I just dont have it handy. who went on those conferences, where were they held, and what was learned? As I said. Do tell!

  24. Cato, you’re the best. If you repeat your comment above at the hearing when the Witherell board begs for money from the BET, I’ll stand you a bottle of scotch, or whatever wets your whistle……….

  25. Greenwich Taxpayer

    Here’s the track record with fund raising by all these do gooders who build ridiculous projects – Friends of MISA? How much (not the millions that were pledge); Friends of Nathaniel Witherell? (who knows?) Junior League? (I’ll believe it when I see it). We are being hosed with a capital H.

  26. Anonymous

    The point about Witherell, Byram Pool, and any other noble donation is that it comes with an ongoing maintenance price…..and to ignore that operating impact is to ignore the “low and predictable increase” on the mill rate.

  27. Anonymous

    Balzac…..the Town does NOT contribute to CDBG funds. The Town is simply authorized to decide which non profits receive FEDERAL funds. CDBG is actually quite an effective idea where locally the decision is made on the distribution of the annual needed funds rather than some bureaucrat making the decision in Washington.

  28. Anonymous

    Woody Allen says it best on joining a club. E.g. JLG. An old saw but worth it. Perhaps our college students should see this too. Guess what. Sometimes life sucks. At the end of the day everyone needs a safe place and protection from micro agressions. It is a cold cruel world out there.