Daily Archives: February 22, 2016

I don’t think title insurance covers this

Abandoned house

Who knows, what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

NJ home buyers sue sellers for failing to warn them of “The Watcher”

The bizarre case of ‘The Watcher’ has taken a dramatic twist, with the previous owners of the house disclosing that they too received an anonymous letter just days before they sold the home.

The $1.35 million house in suburban New Jersey has now been empty for two years, while the current and former owners are locked in a legal dispute over it.

The new owners claim the sellers knew but never told them about the bizarre stalker, who called themselves [sic]  The Watcher.

But now the sellers have hit back, calling the allegations untrue – but also disclosing that they too received an unsigned letter, although they say it was not ‘threatening’.

The mystery started in June 2014, when Derek and Maria Broaddus bought the six-bed, 3.5 bath family home in Westfield, from John and Andrea Woods.

A year later they sued the Woods, who had retired to Massachusetts, claiming that within weeks of the house sale closing, they had received three threatening letters, signed ‘The Watcher’.

The Broaddusses claimed they had received a letter saying: ‘I have be [sic] put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming; my grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s.

‘It is now my time; Why are you here? I will find out; Now that they have it to flaunt it, they pay the price…’

It went on: ‘I asked the Woods to bring me young blood.’

One of the other three letters said: ‘Who am I? I am the Watcher and have been in control of [the home] for the better part of two decades now.

‘The Woods family turned it over to you it was their time to move on and kindly sold it when I asked them to.’

The Broaddusses had demanded triple damages – the cost of the house, plus the renovations they had paid for – but the Woods are now counter-suing, saying that they deserve compensated for the damages to their reputation.

I don’t think I’d want to move in either.

UPDATE: The plot thickens: Reader ChillKitty sends along this link to a Gothamist article that debunks the new owners’ claims or, at least, casts them in  different light. The couple has had 10 mortgages over 12 years, never performed the renovations they claim as  part of their damages, and, curiously, waited a year after receiving the first letter before filing suit, even though they claim they were so frightened to receive it that they never moved in.

It’s a nightmare, alright, but for the sellers, not the buyers.


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So just raise the minimum wage to $50

malloy minimum wage

Dannel and Barry celebrate their worker replacement program at minimum wage increase ceremony

White House predicts that robots will replace all jobs paying  under $20 per hour


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(Another) Million-dollar price-whack up at Conyers Farm

74 Upper Cross Rd

74 Upper Cross Rd – t’s white, and it’s huge, but is it a huge white elephant?

74 Upper Cross Road, cut from $9.950 to$8.950 today. The house is 14,000 sq.ft. on 16 + acres, it sold for $10,000,000 in 2000, was completely renovated in 2011 and resold to the present owner for $13.5 in 2012. He and the agent who sold it to him, David Ogilvy, have been attempting to unload it since 2014, when they started off at $13.890.

The bloom’s off the rose; not just this particular house, but behemoths 10 miles north of town, in general.


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FAR mystery house

7 heusted

7 Heusted Drive

7 Heusted Drive, Old Greenwich, reports a pending sale, $1.795 million. The listing, and the tax card, show 3,206 sq.ft. in the main house and a 792 sq.ft. cottage, on an 0.11 – acre lot in the R-12 zone. By my math, the R-12 FAR ratio of .315 for 1 4,791 sq.ft. parcel is 1,509 sq. ft., so how it swelled to 3,998 feet is beyond me, but there you have it.

No garage, and no where to put one, but for this little money, what do you expect?


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And old construction sells on Round Hill Road, but it probably won’t be old for long


Joe Barbieri and his Sothebys sales team celebrate his latest sale on Round Hill

Joe Barbieri’s listing at 75 Round Hill Road is reported pending – asking price was $5.250 million. It has a so-so 1938 house on it now, but it’s also 4.31 acres in the R-2 zone, with a FAR of 16,000 sq. ft., so I’d guess the house will be razed and something modest and tasteful erected in its place.


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New Construction sells in Old Greenwich

105 SHORE road

105 Shore Road, Old Greenwich

105 Shore Road, still being finished, has sold for $4.825 million, on an asking price of $4.950. I guess that proves that, despite what I’ve always believed, location is not everything.


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In ten years, this sort of inaccurate filmmaking will be gone

Researchers from Duke University in North Carolina looked at 32 films, many of them from Disney, that were rated G … They put the characters into classes based on their job. At the top are upper class characters – royalty, chief executives and celebrities.

The working class have jobs like soldiers, sailors, miners and sweeps. The lowest category is the jobless poor.

Their analysis showed that in most cases the main character is wealthy and the majority of the cast are either upper or upper-middle class, meaning that poorer sectors are under-represented.

The depictions of working-class people are also unrealistic, the researchers said, as nearly all ‘perceive their jobs as invigorating, fun’. In Mary Poppins, Bert sings that ‘as a sweep you’re as lucky as can be’.

The study says: ‘Bert, like other characters, frames working-class jobs as devoid of difficulties.’

Many children’s films, it adds, ‘suggest that social class inequality is benign, as those at the bottom of the class ladder suffer little, lead relatively stable lives, and experience many advantages’.

Disney’s Aladdin is taken to task because of a scene in which Princess Jasmine and the impoverished title character compare their different backgrounds and conclude they both have hard lives.

Working-class lives in children’s movies are often portrayed as so fun and cosy that rich people will voluntarily go down the class ladder to join them, the researchers say. Poor people are portrayed as happier too – in The Sound Of Music, humble former nun Maria teaches her upper class employer how to love his children.

The study concludes that, overall, children’s films make poverty and class distinctions seem like a case of the lower orders getting their ‘just deserts’. It says the films make class divisions seem ‘legitimate by erasing, downplaying, and sanitising their effects – by portraying poverty and inequality as benign’.

It adds that this ‘erases, downplays or sanitises poverty and class inequality, implying that poverty and inequality are not particularly problematic as few people suffer from them’.

I wonder whether the Dukes will tackle North Korea next? This video, “Excellent Horse-Like Lady” from the People’s Paradise depicts some really cheerful textile workers – of course the star, Hyon Song Wal, was Kim Jung’s girlfriend at the time, and was probably doing okay in the material goods department.


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