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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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Monday, January 05, 2009

Westport Hedge Fund Strategist Issues 2009 Predictions

Byron R. Wien, chief investment strategist of Westport’s Pequot Capital Management, Inc., today issued his annual list of predictions for 2009, forecasting a 33 percent rise in the S&P 500, gold soaring to $1,200 an ounce, and oil increasing to $80 a Image
Byron Wien: Sees market improvement. File photo

Wien, whose hedge-fund firm manages about $4.3 billion, has issued his economic, financial market and political “10 Surprises” list annually since 1986. His predictions:

1. The Standard and Poor’s 500 rises to 1200. In anticipation of a second-half recovery in the U.S. economy, the market improves from a base of investor despondency and hedge fund and mutual fund withdrawals. The mantra changes from “fortunes have been lost” to “fortunes can still be made.” Higher quality corporate bonds, leveraged loans and mortgages lead the way.

2. Gold rises to $1,200 per ounce. Heavy buying by Middle Eastern investors and a worldwide disenchantment with paper currencies drive the price of precious metals higher. In a time of uncertainty, investors want something they can count on as real.

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Posted 08:23 PM
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Friday, January 02, 2009

Westport National Explains Madoff Ties

Westport National Bank today sought to assure customers and employees that it acted only as a custodian for customers investing in Bernard Madoff Investment Image
Westport National Bank sent a letter to customers and employees saying it acted only as a custodian for customers investing with Bernard Madoff. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The bank sent a letter to clients and employees after two law firms in Florida said investors had retained them to investigate claims that the bank had sent customer funds to Madoff, a securities dealer under investigation for an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. (See WestportNow Dec. 31, 2008)

“First, be assured that the Bank has not invested any of its own funds or the funds of its depositors with Madoff, and the Bank has not advised any customer or anybody else to invest with Madoff,” said Richard T. Cummings Jr., president of the bank at 1495 Post Road East, a division of Connecticut Community Bank, N.A.

In 1999, at the request of an unidentified local company, Westport National Bank replaced another financial institution as the custodian for a number of individuals and entities that were investing with Bernard L. Madoff Securities, Cummings said.

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Posted 09:36 PM
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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Westport National Bank Cited in Madoff Scandal

UPDATE Two Florida law firms said today they have been retained by Florida investors to investigate claims against various third parties in connection with the Bernard Madoff alleged Ponzi scheme, including Westport National Bank on Post Road Image
Two Florida law firms said they are investigating claims made against the Westport National Bank at 1495 Post Road in connection with Bernard Madoff. The bank denied any wrongdoing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

In a statement, West Palm Beach-based McCabe Rabin and Boca Raton-based Stein, Stein & Pinsky said they had learned that investors in Florida and other states were solicited by a promoter to invest with Westport National Bank, a division of Connecticut Community Bank, N.A.

Both the promoter and Westport National Bank charged fees to investors who were placed with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, the statement said.

“When the news broke that Madoff’s operation was a Ponzi Scheme, the investors were devastated to learn that their millions ‘on paper’ did not exist,” the law firms said.

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Posted 02:11 AM
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Westport-Based UJA/Federation Had No Madoff Investments

UJA/Federation of Westport Weston Wilton Norwalk has no investments with Bernard L. Madoff Securities, Inc., the Westport group said today. It said its current operations are unaffected by the scandals surrounding Madoff. 

“Mr. Madoff’s association with many Jewish philanthropies could cause concern that UJA/Federation of Westport Weston Wilton Norwalk might be affected, and we want our donors and beneficiary organizations to know that our investments are not affected,” said Steven M. Friedlander, executive director of UJA/Federation WWWN.

“This organization’s self-managed funds are primarily in FDIC-insured bank accounts and government securities. Rest assured, we are able to carry out our mission and make good on our commitments for the current fiscal year.”

UJA/Federation WWWN is a member of the Jewish Community Endowment Foundation, based in Stamford.

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Posted 09:11 PM
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Main Street Does Brisk Holiday Business Image
Westport’s Main Street was crowded with holiday shoppers today and merchants said business was unexpectedly brisk considering the current economic troubles. “It’s been surprisingly good today,” said one. “Let’s hope it keeps up.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 08:52 PM
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Tough Times for Westport’s Newspapers

Westport’s two newspapers, the Hearst Corp.-owned Westport News, and Journal Register Co.-owned Westport Minuteman, are targets of their out-of-town corporate owners to reduce expenses.

Employees of the Westport News, which publishes on Wednesdays and Fridays, were among those sent letters today warning of job cuts in the first quarter of 2009, according to a story published on the Web site of the Hearst-owned Connecticut Post.

Meanwhile, Journal Register this week laid off the publisher of the Westport Minuteman and Fairfield Minuteman, which publish Thursdays, following an earlier reduction of the Westport reporting staff to one. A publisher of one of its Litchfield County newspapers has assumed the Westport and Fairfield publisher duties.

And on Thursday Journal Register informed employees it was shutting down 16 of its other Connecticut weekly newspapers affecting 21 editors and reporters, according to the New Haven Independent Web site. Eight are in the company’s Shore Line division and the eight in its Elm City chain.

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Posted 01:56 AM
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Passport to Westport Debuts Today Image
Passport to Westport, a business promotion effort by a group of Westport retailers calling themselves Locals for Locals, is available beginning today at the 15 participating businesses and their Web sites. The brochure features offers and discounts at each of the participating retailers. Robin Scarella, (c), of PR firm Connections, looks over the publication with representatives of the participating businesses, Steve Knowles (l) of Allegra Printing, and David Gerard, owner of Born of Earth Spa. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Joyce Laitman photo

Posted 11:30 AM
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Westport, Unlike Fairfield, Had No Madoff Investments

Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff said today that Westport’s pension plans, unlike those in Fairfield, had no assets invested with funds controlled by Bernard Madoff.

“Fortunately, Westport did not invest with any of the Madoff entities,” he said. “We’ve checked with our pension advisers and while they certainly were aware of him and his record, they did not deem his investment offerings prudent for our funds.”

The Town of Fairfield has said it had about $42 million in pension fund assets in funds controlled by Madoff.

Madoff, 70, confessed to employees last week that Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was “a giant Ponzi scheme” that cost clients $50 billion.

Posted 08:27 PM
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