Daily Archives: March 18, 2016

Anyone who can look like this and still fleece “investors” out of $190 million has got to be good – very good

trevor gilson cook

Trust me, I’m from Minnesota

“Deep End of the Ocean” author tells Oprah that she lost her entire fortune to crooked financial advisor Trevor Gilson Cook .

Really? Did she ever meet the man?


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Coming sooner than restaurant workers may think


Mr. Pinch Sulzberger: Will this mean I won’t find work?

Carl Jr. CEO wants to see fully-automated restaurants where customers will never see an employee.

“We could have a restaurant that’s focused on all-natural products and is much like an Eatsa, where you order on a kiosk, you pay with a credit or debit card, your order pops up, and you never see a person,” Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder told Business Insider.

Puzder says the automated restaurant would be cheaper since he wouldn’t have to worry about rising minimum wage.

“If you’re making labor more expensive, and automation less expensive- this is not rocket science,” Puzder said.

“They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” says Puzder of swapping employees for machines. “Millennials like not seeing people. I’ve been inside restaurants where we’ve installed ordering kiosks… and I’ve actually seen young people waiting in line to use the kiosk where there’s a person standing behind the counter, waiting on nobody.”

And the NYT agrees with his sentiments; or it did until recently, anyway. 

There’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. Most important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired.

If a higher minimum means fewer jobs, why does it remain on the agenda of some liberals? A higher minimum would undoubtedly raise the living standard of the majority of low-wage workers who could keep their jobs. That gain, it is argued, would justify the sacrifice of the minority who became unemployable. The argument isn’t convincing. Those at greatest risk from a higher minimum would be young, poor workers, who already face formidable barriers to getting and keeping jobs.

The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed. It’s time to put this hoary debate behind us, and find a better way to improve the lives of people who work very hard for very little.


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I’m astonished it lasted there as long as it did


In an unposed photo, Mrs. Elsie Stillman Rockefeller picks out a rake for Hubby to use in his chores

Greenwich Hardware is moving off the Avenue to 205 Railroad Ave.  Nice people and a useful store, but paying Avenue rents must have stopped making economic sense long ago; or they were locked into a great rental that’s now expired, but either way, time to go.

The new location, with free parking, should be more convenient, so I hope the store continues to prosper.



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February sales statistics from the Greenwich MLS

March 17, 2016 (Greenwich, CT) – The Greenwich Association of REALTORS® announces the statistics for home sales in The Town of Greenwich, CT. for the month of February 2016.
There were 43 single-family residential closings reported during this period according to figures provided by The Greenwich Multiple Listing Service, Inc., the multiple listing service used by REALTORS® in the Greenwich area.
The number of single-family residential closings increased, compared to February 2015 when there were 36 closings in February. The median sale price for a single-family home decreased to $1,550,000 from $1,747,500; the median sales price in February 2015.
The average days on the market (DOM) for residential homes was 230 days; which was an increase from 181 days in February 2015.
“This was the highest number of closings in February for the past six years. Old Greenwich continues to be the strongest market in Town. There are fewer listings available in Old Greenwich and double the sales year-to-date in 2016 compared to 2015. Overall in all areas of Town prices remain strong and homes are selling for on average 97% of their list prices,” stated Joann Erb, 2016 President of the Greenwich Association of REALTORS.
Whatever. TheMLS figures I can glean are 2015: 43 single family sales in February; vs 46 in 2016.
There were 7 sales in OG year-to-date in 2015, 11 this year. 12 in Riverside in 2015, 13 this year.
Old Greenwich saw 5 listed sales (and one unlisted) this February, for an average sale-to-list-ratio of 90%. Riverside saw 8 sales, average list-to-sell of 93%. The difference in that number compared to Joan Erb’s assertion of 97% is that the GMLS uses the last asking price to compute the ratio, rather than the original. 146 Hendrie Avenue, for instance, sold for 79% of its original price of $4.495 million. Using the MLS method, and thus the last price of $3.895, that figure jumps to 93%,
Just saying.
single family closings
Median price


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New spec house on Ledge Road


2 Ledge Road, Old Greenwich

2 Ledge Road, Old Greenwich, asking $5.495 million. It’s “FEMA compliant”, so there’s no basement, but the 1/2-acre lot still allowed for more than 6,000 sq. feet to be built. Seems like a lot to pay, but this builder wasn’t the only one who saw potential – he paid $1.8 for the land in 2014, in a bidding war.


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Breaking news: Donald Trump speaks at a 4th grade reading level.

This was also “breaking news” last October 21st, but never mind – the message must be heard!

So what’s a sophisticated speaker sound like? Mumbo jumbo “nuance”

Here’s Clinton: 

“Well look, I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in … and I do think you have to control your borders. But I think that it’s also true that we need to do more to try to, number one, deal with the people who are already here, many of whom have been here for decades.

“We need to secure our borders. I’m for it, I voted for it, I believe in it, and we also need to deal with the families, the workers who are here, who have made contributions, and their children.

“Mexican immigration no longer is really the issue. The Mexican economy is doing well enough, we’ve had no net Mexican immigration in the last several years. We now get immigrants from Central America and Latin America, and a lot of them make a very dangerous trip with smugglers and traffickers to try to get in to our country. And we need to do more to try to put some resources into those countries to try to deal with some of the conditions, particularly the violence, the drug dealers and the like, that create that.

Mrs. Clinton went on to argue that in addition to securing the border, the government needs to give the 11 million illegal immigrants who are already here a path to citizenship to bring them “out of the shadows.”

“Because we will have a better economic outcome if we do that because what happens now is if you’re undocumented, you will work for as little as you can be paid,” she said. “And that influences the labor market and takes away jobs from Americans because there’s no even playing field. If we get them out of the shadows and we enforce the labor laws, we will see a much better labor market for Americans and we will also see much more contribution into the Social Security and Medicare system, as well as the taxes. I mean right now we know that undocumented workers pay into the Social Security system, many billions of dollars, but it could be even more.”

And here’s Trump. I’ll take the 4th Grade edition, thank you.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 1.46.23 PM


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Well it’s not quite time to pull out the crying towels but…

Meadow Road

Meadow Lane, Southampton

Average price of top ten Hamptons homes drops 20%, to $35.5 million.

The market for luxury homes in the Hamptons, the summer playground for Wall Street’s wealthiest, is losing some of its luster as financial markets limp along for a second year.

The average price of the ten most expensive homes sold in this cluster of towns, villages and hamlets on Long Island’s east end was $35.5million in 2015, 20 percent lower than the $44.6million recorded the year before, according to real estate brokers Town & Country Real Estate in East Hampton.

That’s still the second-highest level, and well up from 2009, when the financial crisis left the top ten languishing at an average of $15.9million in 2009 – but Judi Desiderio, chief executive of Town & County, has been active in Hamptons real estate for three decades and says it’s still a meaningful decline.

Or not:

The top ten numbers may be skewed by one or two of the highest-priced sales, but a wider survey by brokerage Corcoran Group shows the median price for the most expensive ten percent of Hamptons sales (57 homes), declined about four percent to $7.6million in the fourth quarter of 2015 from a year earlier.

‘We won’t see this again until 2021, as it seems to run in seven-year cycles,’ Desiderio predicted.

The prices of luxury homes in the Hamptons and the success of Wall Street are inextricably linked, especially the level of bankers’ bonuses, as they often finance second homes, said Anthony DeVivio, Hamptons managing director for another brokerage, Halstead Property.

This is pretty much a “made for the tabloids” story, but what the heck, it ties in with the post below, and I need something to entertain the readers (“reader”, per Walt) while I’m away this morning, so I’m going with it.


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Generalissimo Franco is still dead


25 Lower Cross Road

25 Lower Cross Road, Conyers Farm, remains atop most expensive homes list in the country

The estate has moved up since September 2015 when it landed at number five on a similar list compiled by Business Insider.

As prices drop on these huge homes, those below them move up on the list. That doesn’t necessarily improve their chances of selling.

That said, it’s an amazing property. I haven’t seen it since Thomas Petterffy renovated it after  buying it for $45 million for it in 2004, but I’m sure he did wonderful things with it.

But the market for this style house, in this location, at this price, is limited, and the property may very well keep its place atop the list for a long time.


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