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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Madoff Client List Includes 40 Westport Addresses

UPDATE A list of the names of thousands of apparent customers of Bernard Madoff made public Wednesday included 40 with addresses in Image
The Westport National Bank was on a list filed in bankruptcy court as apparently having customers who had funds with Bernard Madoff. The bank has said it acted merely as a custodian for such customers. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

However, many names are repeated, possibly because they had more than one type of account at the Madoff firm, which is in liquidation.

The 162-page filing made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan doesn’t list the amount each client invested with the firm owned by the securities dealer allegedly involved in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

The chief compliance officer of Resnick Investment Advisors LLC in Westport, which is on the list, said in an e-mail that his firm isn’t directly invested with Madoff but received client statements “for clients of ours who ... were Madoff clients,” The Wall Street Journal said.

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Posted 05:37 PM
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Monday, February 02, 2009

End of Era: Three Bears Closes, Tiburon Opens

The Three Bears Restaurant, a Westport landmark since the early 1900s, has closed and a new restaurant, the Tiburon, has taken its place at the corner of Wilton Road and Newtown Image
The former Three Bears Restaurant is now the Tiburon Restaurant with new management and staff and a new menu. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The sign was changed on Friday and came after Three Bears Restaurant Inc. filed for Chapter 7 voluntary bankruptcy on Oct. 1 at Federal Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport. The Westport town Web site shows the restaurant owes more than $19,000 in real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes.

According to the Three Bears Web site,  original portions of the Three Bears are well over two centuries old, dating back to the restaurant’s earliest days as a stagecoach stop.

The restaurant history said the Three Bears “is Westport’s oldest eating place” and was originally called The Three Bears Tavern “until the repeal of Prohibition gave the word ‘tavern’ a new meaning.”

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Posted 05:30 AM
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Westport Builder Wins Award for Best Custom Home

A waterfront home at 32 Edgewater Hillside in Westport built by Miro Builders of Westport was honored with the 2008 HOBI award for best custom home (3,000 - 4,000 square feet) by the Home Builders Association of Image
The award-winning builder called the residence at 32 Edgewater Hillside “a spectacular beach house.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo by Olson Photographic, LLC

The winning home was designed by Norwalk-based architect Roger Bartels of Bartels-Pagliaro Architects, LLC who also won the 2008 HOBI award for architect of the year.

In addition, the house was selected by the editors of Architectural Digest as one of the top design projects worldwide for 2008. The home is currently being featured on the magazine’s Web site.

The residence was honored both for the architecture as well as the interior design which was done by the homeowner and Kathy Groener, owner of the Westport firm, K & D Design.

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Posted 06:28 AM
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shoe Megashop to Open Next to Barnes & Noble Image
All is not gloom on the Westport retail front. After being vacant for about two years, the 11,000-square foot space once occupied by Genovese Drugs at 1076 Post Road East next to Barnes & Noble has been leased to Marshalls for a Shoe Megashop. The store is only the second standalone Shoe Megashop (the other is in Scarsdale) of a concept that is part of a number of Marshalls stores. It features designer name shoes at discount prices for kids, teens and adults. Opening is set for between March 15 and April 1. Parent TJX Companies also owns HomeGoods which opened on Post Road East near the Fairfield line in September in space formerly occupied by Toys ‘R’ Us. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:19 AM
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Curran Auto Dealership Planning Layoffs But Will Stay Open

UPDATE The president of the Curran Cadillac Pontiac GMC auto dealership on Post Road East said today the business will stay open but lay off some employees as it struggles to survive in difficult economic Image
Jim Curran: There will be layoffs but his Westport auto dealership is not closing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Jim Curran, in an e-mail message to WestportNow, did not explain why his sales manager said on Saturday that the dealership, which has been in operation at 561 Post Road East since 1964, would be closing its doors on Friday. (See WestportNow Jan. 25, 2009) Later in a telephone interview, he said: “I didn’t understand why he said that.”

“Curran Cadillac is not closing,” he said. “We are laying off additional employees by the end of this month,  but we will be open for service and sales.” There are 15 employees at the dealership.

“If we can’t make it as a GM store, we have been approached by several other automakers about the use of our site,” Curran said. “But our first choice is to keep it as it is—selling and servicing GM vehicles.”
—Dave Matlow contributed reporting for this story.

Posted 03:42 PM
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Curtains for Curran Cadillac After Four Decades?

By Dave Matlow

UPDATE Is Curran Cadillac Pontiac GMC. an auto dealership mainstay on Post Road East since 1964, closing its doors this week, putting 15 employees out of work? Image
There was confusion about whether the Curran auto dealership at 561 Post Road East will close after 44 years. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Jim Curran, president of Curran at 561 Post Road East, messaged WestportNow late today that was not the case.  However, Sales Manager Chris Kusick said on Saturday that the dealership will close on Friday. He said it will continue to operate and do service through Wednesday.

“My dealership is NOT closing its doors as of this Wednesday,” Curran said, without explaining his sales manager’s remarks. He had been unavailable for comment on Saturday.

The Internet killed the family car business, said Kusick, a seven-year employee. “It’s become an online auction. (People) search for a price online and then have the service done locally.”

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Posted 05:30 AM
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Friday, January 23, 2009

CNBC: Fake Bernie Madoff Blogger is Westporter

UPDATE The man behind the fake Bernie Madoff blog that has created a following on Wall Street and elsewhere is Westporter Jay Berkman, CNBC said Image
Westporter Jay Berkman admits on CNBC he’s the “fake Bernie Madoff.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CNBC/ photo

CNBC said Berkman, a marketing and PR consultant, started posing online as Madoff on Dec. 15, shortly after finding out that his father, a Florida retiree, had lost “a significant amount” of money in the alleged Ponzi scheme by the securities dealer.

“It was an emotional event, and that sort of drove me to try and do something creative about it,” Berkman told the cable business network. 

He vented that emotion by creating a caricature of Madoff and starting a blog, much like Dan Lyons created Fake Steve Jobs, CNBC said. CNBC broadcast an interview with Berkman and reporter Jane Wells wrote about him on her blog.

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Posted 07:44 PM
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Comings and Goings: Katzenberg Kafe Closes Image
Westport’s Main Street has lost another tenant—Katzenberg Kafe. The coffee house/deli at 22 Main St. closed without announcement around New Year’s Day after a five-year run. (See WestportNow Oct. 3, 2003) But the windows were covered and its status was not clear until a for rent sign went up. The vacancy in the former location of Moonstruck and The Coffee Tree is one of a number that have occurred in recent months on Westport’s premier shopping street. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 10:28 PM
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Deserted Image
The former Shaw’s Supermarket at 605 Post Road East in Westport was deserted today as it was disclosed that a contract has been negotiated for The Fresh Market to open there in November after a $3 million renovation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:29 PM
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Jay Kowalsky: Fresh Market to Open in November

By Dave Matlow Image
Jay Kowalsky: The Fresh Market stores are “knock-down gorgeous” with competitive prices. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for
Specialty food store The Fresh Market will open in November in place of Shaw’s Supermarket which closed Saturday on Westport’s Post Road East, a representative of the shopping center owner said today.

A 15-year contract with the 84-store chain based in Greensboro, N.C. was signed several days ago, said Jay Kowalsky, president and treasurer of Kowalsky Real Estate owned by the Kowalsky family of Westport.

Renovations to the site at 605 Post Road East—which at one time was Grand Union—will cost in the $3 million range, he said. In addition, there will be upgrades to adjacent stores as well as to the family-owned shopping strip on the opposite side of Post Road East.

Kowalsky disclosed that during lengthy negotiations with The Fresh Market, the family entertained proposals from The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company and Big Y.

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Posted 03:26 PM
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Shaw’s Closes Image
The sign on the door said it all—Shaw’s Supermarket, the anchor tenant in the shopping center at 605 Post Road East since taking over from Grand Union in 2001, closed its doors for the last time today. Frustration with the repeated failure by the supermarket tenant to upgrade its Westport store led to a decision not to renew its lease, according to the Kowalsky family, owner of the site. (See WestportNow Nov. 11, 2008) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:29 PM
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Farewell Image
UPDATE About 90 persons were put out of work today by the closing of Shaw’s Supermarket on Westport’s Post Road East. The shopping center owners said they had signed a contract with The Fresh Market to move in in November after renovation of the site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:25 PM
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

SEC Reportedly Reopens Probe of Pequot Capital

The Securities and Exchange Commission has reopened its investigation of possible insider trading involving a Westport-based hedge fund, reports said today.

Bloomberg News and The Associated Press said the case involving Pequot Capital Management concerned a matter closed two years ago.

The reports said the SEC is examining whether the hedge fund traded Microsoft Corp. shares on confidential information provided by a former Microsoft employee that it hired.

The SEC has not publicly acknowledged reopening the probe, and a SEC spokesman declined to comment.

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Posted 09:18 PM
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Ted Hampe Leaves HK Group Image
Ted Hampe: future plans to be revealed. Contributed photo
Ted Hampe, longtime chairman of Westport’s HK Group Commercial Real Estate, has resigned his position and his partner, Matthew Keefe, president, will be the sole operator of the company, it was announced today.

The company will now be known officially as HK Group II, Inc. Hampe’s resignation was effective Dec. 31, a news release said.

The firm has experienced five straight years of continuous growth and is well-positioned to face the challenging future with 10 brokers in sales, leasing and property management, the company said.

Hampe, a graduate of Iowa State University and Harvard Business School, said he is not retiring and “his plans are yet to be revealed.”

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Posted 03:00 PM
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Showing Off Proposed Bedford Square Project Image
Westport developer David Waldman (c) met with members of the Historic District Commission and Architectural Review Board tonight to discuss plans for his Bedford Square project in downtown Westport. The makeover of the current Westport Weston Family Y building at 59 Post Road East will include retail shops, restaurants, condominiums, and a piazza public space with fountain. The Y plans to move its headquarters to its Camp Mahackeno site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 02:58 AM
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