Monday, February 23, 2009
Dodd’s Washington Land Records, 30 Acres and a Mule
"...the blow of a loy, have taught me that there's a great gap between a gallous story and a dirty deed."-Pegeen Mike, in The Playboy of the Western World
“What does it mean to “co-purchase” a house together with someone like Ed Downe?” a curious blogger asks on the popular web site Connecticut Local Politics.
It’s a timely question. Land records in Washington show that US Sen. Chris Dodd made three real estate purchases there.
Dodd, it would appear, is not only an accomplished congressman; he is a super real-estate maestro.
1) 508 E Street, S.E. Washington DC was co-owned by the Dodds and Sanford Bomstein and wife. Bomstein was the bagman implicated in Sen. Tom Dodd’s scandal. Chris Dodd's father was censured in 1967 by the Senate for using campaign funds for personal purposes. That property was sold to Sean Roach for $10 (that’s ten dollars, no decimal error), and the filing date was 8/20/95. You can buy a lot (no pun intended) for ten dollars in Washington. And some politicians are even cheaper.
2) Property number 2 was a condo at 2153 California Street, N.W., #602. This was the one Dodd bought in partnership with Edward R. Downe, then a director of Bear Stearns, later to be convicted of insider trading and pardoned by President Bill Clinton, the pardoner-in-chief, upon Dodd’s importunate intervention.
"Ed made a mistake a number of years ago, for which he has accepted full responsibility," wrote Dodd in defense of Downe, "He pled guilty and was sentenced to 300 hours of community service. Over the years,Ed has expressed to me, his family and friends his deep remorse for his actions."
That condo was purchased 4/29/86 for $159,800 and the filing date was 5/2/86. The Downes later sold their share of the condo to Dodd for $10.00 (that’s ten dollars). Dodd sold the condo (filing date 10/27/99) to Annie Davis -- one hopes for a profit, a rather dirty word these days in the Beltway Bubble. [This is in error. Dodd bought out Downe's share in the condo for $41,000, according to a piece in the Hartford Courant]
Downe was something of a playboy when libertinism was frowned upon mostly by wives, and his restless ways got him a divorce from his wealthy first wife, Charlotte Ford, an heiress to automaker Henry, who made money hand over fist by producing a sellable product rather than stretching out his empty palm to the likes of Dodd for a bailout – not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The only reason Charlotte asked for a divorce she said, according to a newspaper report, was her husband’s philandering – “right under her nose in the Sutton Place apartment below theirs he used for his office… ‘Ed would tell Charlotte they were going out to dinner, and then wouldn't come back until 2 a.m.’ a friend of hers said.”
Dodd and Downe used to go clubbing together in the senator’s wild and wooly days, before he married his latest wife, Jackie Clegg, also wealthy, and put his playboy ways on the shelf.
3) The third property was a townhouse at #8, 7th Street, N.E. Washington DC. Dodd and his second wife purchased the property when they first married. The sellers were Dodd’s former aide, now Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and her husband Stanley Greenberg, a wealthy pollster to political stars. That deed was dated 10/15/99, and the filing date was 10/25/99. The price of that one was the usual going price for townhouses in tonier sections of Washington -- $10.00 (that’s ten dollars) – which sort of makes you wonder why those of Dodd’s constituents who lost their mortgages do not immediately take their tax credits from President Barack Obama to Washington, where they certainly could purchase several hundred townhouses and sell them at a profit to homeless congressmen.
And, of course, there is a fourth property, much in the news just now – a large spread in Ireland, the grand country that gave us J.M. Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World,” a story in which a sweet talking, golden tongued lad of the sod manages to convince a small town that he had murdered his pop by banging him on the head with a loy. He wins the heart of the beautiful Peegan Mike, but loses it when his bloody dad, in search of his wastrel son, wanders into Peegan’s pub and blows the only chance the playboy of the Western World has to wrap himself in a cozy fame and marry the fair lass of his dreams.
Such is life; reality, in the form of a bloody old dad, keeps intruding.