A sad day, for some of us



A reader sends along the news that we can now buy, in honor of the ninth-anniversary of Lehman Bros.' demise, a scotch labeled "Lehman's Ashes."

That might well be a blend worth raising a toast with in the wine cellars of a number of empty Greenwich mansions these days, because Lehman's collapse stamped the fun out of Greenwich's high end market, and those grand times have never returned. I remember speaking up (who, me?) at a sales meeting at my brokerage firm a few days later, while a number of fellow-agents were cheering the news, and asking "you're happy about this? Forget how many of these people are our friends, who are we going to sell their houses to?" Turns out, that epoch was one of my most profitable periods, because I ended up selling those houses to other  Wall Streeters, at huge discounts, but still, there's not much pleasure to be derived from others' misery.

And Lehman had some great people buried in the 25,000 employees fired that day. Ignoring Greenwich's own Dick Fuld, who kept his wealth, and his manse on North Street, I imagine almost all of them were. I had several personal friends here in town who worked there, and they were great people, but mostly I knew the firm's litigation staff, notably, its director Ted Krebsbach.  Ted was a rock star, fresh from winning a huge Supreme Court case upholding binding arbitration for customer claims (best thing that ever happened to stock brokerage customers, in my lonely claimants advocate's opinion), I was a nobody, solo lawyer from the 'burbs, but we established early on in one particular case that we were both honest professionals, and a relationship grew from there: he treated me as a professional peer; a respect I happily returned, because that's indeed what he was. Ted seems to have done just fine for himself after Lehman's collapse, and I just hope that the rest of his colleagues have done as well.

It's an anniversary well worth marking in the Greenwich real estate market, but not one I'll celebrate.