Monday, January 26, 2004
Board of Finance to Consider $50,000 Allen’s Clam House Demolition Request
Posted 11:23 PM
The Westport Board of Finance will consider a $50,000 appropriation at its Feb. 4 meeting to demolish the former Allen’s Clam House restaurant on Hillspoint Road. The Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a design for a scaled-down restaurant on the now town-owned property in November. It said it was not in harmony with the neighborhood. WestportNow.com file photo
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Jury Chosen in Martha Stewart Trial
A jury of eight women and four men was chosen today to hear the stock fraud trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart.
Lawyers for the government and defense were expected to present their opening statements beginning Tuesday.
Six alternates—four men and two women —also were selected.
Friday, January 23, 2004
Martha Stewart Jury Almost Complete
There was more questioning today in a Manhattan federal courthouse of prospective jurors in the insider trading-related case of Westport’s Martha Stewart.
The questioning began today with 40 potential jurors qualified for the next round, according to transcripts of questioning from earlier this week. Sources have said the judge wants a pool of about 50.
Stewart was back in court for the fourth straight day watching juror questioning in the private robing room of U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.
In 12-degree cold, Stewart arrived at the courthouse wearing an overcoat and cream-colored scarf, along with black ankle boots. She briefly glanced to her right, at a man who was shouting encouragement to her.
Leaving court in the evening, she briefly raised her eyebrows at reporters but did not answer questions. “Good night,” she said.
Teens Dream Up Westport Businesses
Coleytown Middle School students Taylor, Christina, and Margaret, all 13, explain their business plan for a Westport teen restaurant to a panel of judges today as part of their eighth grade computer class. Other student ideas for Westport businesses included a teen job center, an amusement park, and a lighting company that would light athletic fields. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Martha Stewart’s Lawyer Complains to Judge
Too many prospective jurors in the case involving Westport’s Martha Stewart wrongly think she is charged with insider trading, her lawyer complained to the judge, according to transcripts released today.
In the transcripts from the closed-door jury selection process, Robert Morvillo said Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum shared blame for the misunderstanding because of her own choice of words, according to an AP account.
The judge replied that she would make sure the jury is properly informed.
Stewart is charged with obstruction of justice and securities fraud—but not insider trading—over stock she sold in 2001.
In the transcripts, which cover the first two days of juror questioning, the judge appears to have given up on finding 12 people completely unfamiliar with Stewart, zeroing in on those who say they can be fair despite heavy pretrial publicity.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Transcript of Martha Stewart Jury Questioning Released
The press was barred from watching questioning of potential jurors in the insider trading-related trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart, but a transcript released today of Tuesday’s session showed the jury pool is diverse.
The potential jurors ranged from a man who said Stewart could not be trusted to a woman who told her: “I am a huge fan of yours. Good luck.”
The transcript offered a glimpse into the painstaking process by which lawyers for the government and Stewart are trying to detect whether jurors might favor one side or the other.
Stewart arrived at the courthouse today to watch the second day of juror questioning.
Martha Stewart Trial Opening Statements Expected Next Week
Jury selection continues today in a New York federal courthouse where the stock-fraud trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart is underway.
The juror questioning was conducted in secret Tuesday as Stewart’s trial began in earnest. About three dozen filed into a judge’s chambers to answer questions, and more were expected today and the rest of the week.
About a dozen of the potential jurors interviewed Tuesday were given the green light by the judge to proceed to the next round of selection, a source close to the case told The Associated Press.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Janus Names New Westport-Based Head
Denver-based Janus Capital Group Inc. today named Jill Paitchel as president of Janus International, its global division based in Westport.
The mutual funds company said Paitchel, formerly of Citigroup Asset Management, will be responsible for day-to-day oversight of international business, which had more than $6 billion in assets under management at the end of 2003.
Paitchel will report to Erich Gerth, senior vice president and managing director of the Janus Global Adviser business.
Gerth replaced Richard Garland, 42, who resigned last fall. Investigators said Garland may have approved improper trading arrangements. (See WestportNow Nov. 18, 2003)
Friday, January 16, 2004
Media Lawyers Submit Arguments on Martha Stewart Trial
Lawyers for media organizations covering the trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart urged a federal judge today to reverse her order barring the media from watching jury selection.
In court papers, media lawyers said the high-profile nature of the case is not enough to justify restricting the public’s right to monitor what happens in court.
“Because this case is newsworthy, it is all the more important to protect the right of access in order to reassure the public that the law is being applied evenhandedly, and that justice is being done,” the papers said.
The judge, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of Manhattan federal court, was to hear oral arguments on the matter later today.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Judge in Martha Stewart Trial Bars Media from Jury Questioning
The intense media interest in the inside trading-related trial of Westports Martha Stewart has prompted the federal judge in the case to bar news coverage of questioning of prospective jurors.
The process is usually held in open court.
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum said today she was concerned reporters might disclose the names of potential jurors and their answers to the questions they are asked.
“There is a substantial risk that such publication or the possibility of such publication would prevent prospective jurors from giving full and frank answers to questions posed to them,” she wrote.
Tentative Resolution Reached in Daybreak Nurseries Case
A tentative resolution has been reached in the Town of Westport’s complaint against Daybreak Nurseries for using a residential area for business operations.
Town Attorney Ira Bloom said today the agreement was reached Wednesday in the second day of a hearing in Superior Court in Stamford.
The town had asked the court to issue an injunction against Daybreak.
He said Daybreak has agreed to submit an application to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) which will address complaints by the town and neighbors.
Daybreak’s application will include establishing buffer areas along the perimeter of the property, limiting hours of operation, including Sunday limits, and limits on height of stockpiling, Bloom said.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Town Argues for Injunction Against Daybreak NurseriesThe Town of Westport went to court today to try to convince a judge to issue an injunction against Daybreak Nurseries to stop using a residential area for its business operations.
The town has issued repeated cease and desist orders against Daybreak Nurseries this year. WestportNow.com file photo
Arguments in the case began Tuesday in Superior Court in Stamford and continued today, according to Town Attorney Ira Bloom.
“It may or may not continue through tomorrow (Thursday),” he told WestportNow.
Bloom said because there are legal issues involved, he anticipates that the judge will request the parties to submit briefs after the evidence is completed.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Web Site Reports on Martha Stewart Questionnaire
It’s supposed to be a secret, but a Web site has reported on the questionnaire filled out by potential jurors in the trial of Westport’s Martha Stewart on insider trading-related charges.
The questionnaire asked whether they had bought her products or cooked with any of her recipes, according to an account posted on the Gawker.com Web site.
The site posted a lengthy report from a person who claimed to be one of the hundreds of potential jurors who filled out the query Tuesday at a federal courthouse in Manhattan.
The 35-page questionnaire also asked whether potential jurors owned stock in Stewart-controlled Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia or ImClone Systems, the company whose stock Stewart told in 2001, triggering an investigation.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Westport’s Onion Alley Restaurant Closes; Main Street Landmark Since 1985
Main Street’s Onion Alley Restaurant is no more.
Onion Alley closes after 18 years. WestportNow.com photo
The downtown Westport restaurant and pub, a mainstay of the street since 1985, quietly closed its doors Sunday night for the last time.
“I couldn’t put together the management for it and it just wasn’t performing,” building owner Drew Friedman told WestportNow.
Friedman, 74, who owns interests in several properties in the downtown area, said the restaurant had not done well since Westport’s Fine Arts movie theatres, up the street on Post Road East, closed at the end of 1998.
“We were heavily dependent on the theaters for nighttime traffic and it hasnt been the same since,” he said.
The theatre building is now Restoration Hardware.
Even opening the restaurant for breakfast in recent months did not result in much improved sales, he said, and the seven-day-a-week breakfast operation was cut back to only weekends.
Westport Commercial Vacancy Rates Up Slightly
The Westport office vacancy rate as of Jan. 1 stands at 16.8 percent, up slightly from 16.2 percent in July 2003, according to Ted Hampe, chairman of HK Group.
HK Group tracks 172 office buildings, with square footage totaling 2,565,000 SF of which 431,000 SF was vacant on Jan. 1.
An additional 27,000 SF was being offered for sub-lease or future direct lease, reflecting planned tenant moves.
Therefore, the office availability rate was 17.5 percent on Jan. 1, Hampe said.