Property Grunt

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Roll Call:Symptoms of the economy

By now we have all heard about David Letterman's blackmail scandal involving an affair he had with an assistant. This is not news to me. It was very well known in entertainment circles that Letterman had a pencahnt for pretty young female assistants. Besides, show business is notorious for these types of extra curricular activities.
What I find fascinating is the motivation behind Joe Halderman's actions.

Who Is David Letterman's Alleged Extortionist?

He lives in Norwalk, Conn., in a house he purchased for $420,000 in 2004. It's unclear from public records available online what the mortgage on the house was, but according to the Norwalk Town Clerk's office, he appears to have taken out four mortgages since 2004—two from Coldwell Banker, one from Accubanc, and one from JPMorgan Chase. According to public records databases, the latter loan was a $50,000 line of credit he took out in February of last year.

Here's the culprit. It is his mortgage. The irony is that Norwalk is nowhere near the same level as Greenwich.

Halderman and his wife Patricia Montet were divorced in 2003; the litigation lasted five years and concluded in May of last year, according to the court docket. It appears to have been a messy parting: The docket contains orders for participation in a "parenting education program" and one motion for contempt of court. The New York Post quotes Montet's father—Halderman's former father-in-law, saying Halderman "was fooling around with a lot of women." According to TMZ, the settlement agreement required Halderman to pay $6,800 in monthly child support, an amount that was later reduced to $6,000. In 2003, the couple's credit care bills totaled $13,500. They have two children, one 18 and one 11. The Post, citing unnamed sources, says Halderman's alleged scheme was a bid to raise money for the child support payments.

And of course what does not help is that he is divorced and has child support spayments up the wazoo.

What really makes Halderman a sleaze is that he is no saint himself.

He had a reputation of being a skirt chasing douchebag.

This piece sums up how he got himself in this situation.

In the end, many of those who know Mr. Halderman offered a psychological explanation--perhaps it was a matter of personality. After all, what sometimes makes a great war producer is, in part, the ability to stride into dangerous situations without a flicker of self-doubt or anxiety about the future. A willful belief that everything will work out, despite the high-risk of danger.

Perhaps it was that same sense of confidence and invincibility that allowed Mr. Halderman to try and allegedly blackmail the late night star of his own network, despite the ostensibly terrible odds of pulling off such a crime.

"It's arrogance," said one former CBS staffer who knew Mr. Halderman. "After you've been in so many war zones and escaped, maybe he feels invincible. I guess it's a chicken and egg thing. Do you have that personality to begin with? Or do you get more and more cocky as time goes by?"

For those of you considering a career in the media, particularly in the tv industry, please be aware that the pay sucks unless you have your own production company or create and distribute your own content.

Also be aware that people like Halderman are a dime a dozen in this industry. Their egos are so enormous that it requires porter to carry them. They are allowed to run rampant because they are the little engines that run the media machine. Despite the key role they play, they do not usually cash in the big bucks because they are more interested in bragging rights than money and also media is notorious in keeping their overhead as low as possible.

I knew of one oompa loompa who thought he was the hottest thing since Don Hewitt. He told everyone about his upcoming projects which never came to be. He was one of those poseurs that whenever he talked about tv shows he acted like he created them.

Now there has been a ton of chatter about how the NYC real estate market is stabilizing.

Market Reports: Manhattan Free Fall May Be Over

Market Reports: Best of the Rest

I respectfully disagree.

No Way Has Housing Bottomed, Says David Levy

America's "Very Soggy" Outlook: Why the Recovery Won't Be V-Shaped

U.S. September Job Cuts Exceeded Forecasts; Unemployment Rose

With these factors, you are going to see a lot stories about Haldermans popping up desperately trying to find cash through any means possible.

This is a good weekend to get hammered.