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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Money Money Money Money

Long before there was Donald Trump, or at least before there was The Apprentice, there were the O'Jays, and they used to sing about money and how it was the root of all evil. A slight misquoting of what Paul actually said to Timothy, but chock full of homespun wisdom anyway, at least for a Top 40 single.

Lately I find myself wondering where the merry-go-round of money will stop around our fair state. Is Connecticut going insane? Maybe this is Exhibit A in the case for madness:

GREENWICH, CT-Antares Investment Partners has purchased two rental apartment properties here in what is believed to be the largest single real estate transaction in Connecticut history. The locally based firm plans to convert a majority of the units into condominiums.

Antares acquired the Putnam Green I-III development and the Weaver’s Hill community here for $223 million from an affiliate of locally based Mill Management Group. The seller had owned both properties for more than 30 years.

Yes, that's $223 million. Add to this the story about the $3,000 martinis they're selling at Foxwoods and you may experience the onset of vertigo. To be fair, the martinis have a nice pair of earrings in them. Well, Dad always said something is worth whatever somebody's willing to pay for it. And that's life in Connecticut in 2006...

But I can't help thinking about the lady in Norwich whose electric bill doubled in the past 18 months. Or that the City of New Haven is so desperate for money that they're talking about putting cameras up all over town to catch and confiscate cars whose owners owe the City for parking tickets and taxes.

A New Haven Register reporter accompanied State Marshal Jerry Juliano on the first day of seizures under the new rules. An elderly man in a walker barely escaped being stranded for $216 in parking tickets because he drove away in his Toyota Camry just before the tow truck could take his car.

Similarly, a young mother with three small children also narrowly escaped, driving away in her Dodge Durango just before tow trucks could strand her. The 2002 Chevy Malibu belonging to John Gomez, 42, was flagged for towing as the system showed he owed $208.53 -- just as he was leaving City Hall with a "paid in full" receipt in his pocket. Gomez had placed a sign on his window, "Please don't tow -- paying tax now."

"If you're inside paying your taxes, who's to say they won't snatch you up while you're in there," Gomez told the New Haven Register. "I believe I have to pay my taxes, don't get me wrong. But what if I wasn't working? I'm lucky. I have a family and means to pay. Not everyone is so lucky."

The O'Jays told us not to let money rule us, or fool us. How are we doing?

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