Richmond, CA moves forward with nuclear option loan mods

From CNN/Money:

California city’s drastic foreclosure remedy: Seizure

The California city of Richmond said Tuesday that it’s ready to take an extraordinary step in its bid to stop foreclosures — threatening to wrest mortgages from the investors who now control them.

As a first step, the San Francisco Bay city said it will work with an investment firm to try to purchase mortgages of underwater homeowners at a price well below their current balances. It would then try to get those loans restructured to make them affordable.

But if the holders of the loans, who are mostly investors, refuse to sell by Aug. 14, the city said it will invoke eminent domain to seize the mortgages so it has more control over the process of making them affordable.

Eminent domain is the legal principle that lets government entities purchase land or structures, usually from reluctant owners who don’t want to sell. It is typically invoked for public uses such as parks, roads or utilities — not mortgages.

In the case of Richmond, the city argues that eminent domain is in the public interest because it could let people stay in their homes and help keep neighborhoods, especially minority communities and low-income neighborhoods, from fraying.

“After years of waiting for a comprehensive fix, we’re stepping into the void with a local principal reduction program,” said Gayle McLaughlin, mayor of Richmond.

The idea is controversial and reflects the frustration, seven years after the housing market started to collapse, of homeowners and officials in areas that are still reeling.

This entry was posted in Foreclosures, Mortgages, Politics, Risky Lending. Bookmark the permalink.

97 Responses to Richmond, CA moves forward with nuclear option loan mods

  1. grim says:

    Jobs Day! Nonfarm payrolls due out at 8:30am – Let’s have your bets

  2. grim says:

    +184k with unemployment falling a tenth.

  3. yome says:

    Consensus is 175,000. I will go with 180,000

  4. anon (the good one) says:

    and so we have another ‘wine taste with a beer budget’ buyer. idiot won’t close unless house is perfect or price lower than the cost of land.

  5. Watch this city get redlined by everyone from mortgage lenders to car insurance companies.

    They will create a permanent colony of the poor.

  6. Once Richmond is redlined by lenders, the housing values will drop even further, probably dipping under even the modified loan amounts.

  7. charlie says:

    110k UE jumps to 7.8% . At 10am Ben declares bond purchases to double. S&P breaks 2000. Good times

  8. Essex says:

    That putz that runs Newark isn’t running for President in 2016. Film at 11.

  9. Comrade Nom Deplume, Halfwit dumbass says:

    [68][prior] moose

    Have not ever seen that but it makes sense. Still, not a lot of room to it–you can’t hit wide without hitting fence or shrub. Kind of like arena football.

    Sellers only gave static on appraisal period. They want it done quickly. I do as well. House was priced for perfection (we are contracted at only 10k under ask) and I have sneaking feeling it won’t appraise.

  10. 1987 Condo says:

    201,000

  11. 1987 Condo says:

    ouch

  12. yome says:

    UE rate 7.4%

  13. yome says:

    Av Workweek – All Employees 23.98 hrs from 34.5 this is bad!!

  14. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    155K +/- 5K

  15. yome says:

    We are starting to spend more than what is coming in

    Prior Consensus Consensus Range Actual
    Personal Income – M/M change 0.5 % 0.4 % 0.2 % to 0.7 % 0.3 %
    Consumer Spending – M/M change 0.3 % 0.4 % 0.1 % to 0.6 % 0.5 %

  16. yome says:

    And futures is going up. I was thinking of selling

  17. JJ says:

    U.S. hiring slows in July but jobless rate falls to 4-yr low
    REUTERS — 8 MINUTES AGO

    * U.S. nonfarm payrolls rise 162,000 in July

    * Unemployment rate falls to 7.4 percent

    * Disconnect between hiring and GDP a worrisome trend

  18. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [17] yome

    QE to infinity

  19. NJGator says:

    Scrapple – We’re taking Lil Gator to his first Premier League game in 2 weeks!

  20. yome says:

    If productivity remains high with Average workweek at 23.98 hours from 34.5 hours ,this tells us companies don’t need more workers and number of unemployed will remain high.

  21. yome says:

    nasdaq change av work week hours to 34.4.I knew something is not right with 23.98 hours
    Prior Consensus Consensus Range Actual

    Av Workweek – All Employees 34.5 hrs 34.5 hrs 34.4 hrs to 34.5 hrs 34.4 hrs

  22. chicagofinance says:

    obamacare……the masses thank you for fkucking them over….here is your proof…

  23. joyce says:

    Swaps Probe Finds Banks Manipulated Rate at Expense of Retirees

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-02/swaps-probe-finds-banks-manipulated-rate-at-expense-of-retirees.html

    “Recorded telephone calls and e-mails reviewed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show that traders at Wall Street banks instructed ICAP Plc brokers in Jersey City, New Jersey, to buy or sell as many interest-rate swaps as necessary to move the benchmark rate, known as ISDAfix, to a predetermined level, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

    By rigging the measure, the banks stood to profit on separate derivatives trades they had with clients who were seeking to hedge against moves in interest rates. Banks sought to change the value of the swaps because the ISDAfix rate sets prices for the other derivatives, which are used by firms from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to Pacific Investment Management Co., said the person, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.”

  24. chicagofinance says:

    Anthony Weiner has gotten support from just about the only person in politics weirder then him — The Rent is Too Damn High Party candidate Jimmy McMillan.

    McMillan, 66 — a political activist who says he plans to run himself this year — showed his love for Weiner by putting up a picture on Twitter of himself hugging Weiner and a message saying, “Jimmy McMillan officially endorses Anthony Weiner.”

    He also told the Politicker Web site, “We all are freaky. He just exposed his freaky-ism in the wrong way,” referring to Weiner’s habit of sexting women shots of his crotch.

  25. Fast Eddie says:

    Temp jobs @ $11 per hour is the new normal. At least that’s what a guy from Manpower was saying this morning. But this is what the people wanted, why would anyone complain? People keep voting for “transformation” so I don’t see the issue. Keep applying for everything and anything the Kingdom is willing to offer.

  26. Essex says:

    26. Like you’ve never sexted the guys you meet at those roadshows.

  27. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    [28] SX

    that is just too damn weird.

  28. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    If you paid the IRS in pennies, they would haul you before a judge.

    However, this might fly.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/man-pays-settlement-with-600-000-quarters-191225587.html

  29. Essex says:

    29. Trending: Huma top name for newborn girls 2013–

  30. JJ says:

    The men are working in real jobs on wall street, those $11 dollar an hour jobs are just “cookie jar” money for bored housewives and kids in college.

    Btw Manpower sounds like the title of a Village People album. Are you sure you were not talking to a gay bar?. Yea I was at the Village last night throwing down some beers in my leathers at some bar called Manpower.

    Fast Eddie says:
    August 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Temp jobs @ $11 per hour is the new normal. At least that’s what a guy from Manpower was saying this morning. But this is what the people wanted, why would anyone complain? People keep voting for “transformation” so I don’t see the issue. Keep applying for everything and anything the Kingdom is willing to offer.

  31. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    A lot of job moving posts have come on here in recent weeks. I saw this and thought it relevant to a lot of you.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tweeting-about-a-new-job-can-get-you-sued-2013-08-02?siteid=yhoof2

    Yes, it is unbelievably gray. But when you don’t know where the mines are, best to give a wide berth.

  32. joyce says:

    30

    Comrade,

    Re: pennies

    Has anyone done that?

  33. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    Nom and it is getting increasingly hard to cover your tracks my lilfe actually associates my name with my user handle. that freaked me. bud of mine in IT has even had to submit user name aliases on a job app.

  34. Essex says:

    The U.S. economy added just 162,000 jobs in July, missing expectations for 185,000 new jobs. To make things worse, the June jobs number was revised down to +188,000 from last month’s estimate of +195,000 jobs.

    And as the labor force participation rate fell, the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.4%.

    All of this reminds us that despite the upticks in jobs, the overall jobs market remains anemic four years into the economic recovery.

    Calculated Risk runs a chart every month that puts the current jobs recovery into perspective.

    “This shows the depth of the recent employment recession — worse than any other post-war recession — and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis,” writes Bill McBride of Calculated Risk.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-scariest-jobs-chart-ever-2013-8#ixzz2aouEUjex

  35. JJ says:

    I highly doubt this recession historically was much of a recession at all.

    The recessions recently as 1981 and 1991 were much worse. First Interest rates were sky high combined with high unemployment. Secondly 25 to 35 years ago the majority of wives did not work.

    Back in 1982 for instance when unemployment soared to 9.7%, interest rates were sky high so no HELOC or zero balance credit cards to borrow from in a pinch. Also the average 50 year old man who got laid off in 1982 only had a HS degree. Worked for same company since HS and had no education or business skills to fall back on. He had a 47 year old wife who never worked and had a HS degree.

    2009 you had a college educated man with a good resume, with a college educated wife with a good resume, both working. So at a 9.3% unemployment rate each had a 90.7% chance of keeping their jobs so odds were very slim they both lost jobs and even if they did they got double severance, double unemployment and rates were extremely low if they needed to borrow.

    Even folks with stay at home wives like me, my wife has a college degree she had a good career she could go back to work.

    Beck in 1982 for instance my in-laws who are from Europe, back then school ended in 8th grade. Could you even imagine getting laid off which my father in law did when he was 43 from a company he worked at for 15 years getting a good pay all at once and only having an 8th grade education and a house, three kids, to support with a stay at home wife.

    Folks really forget how hard it was. Many the immigrant in the 30s or even the 80s recession barely spoke english.

    Remember the movie fun with Dick and Jane the hyper inflation that caused Ford to do Whip Inflation Now. The clerks used to go around store raising prices all the time. The clerk is raising prices on stuff in the cart already and Jane Curtain is screaming. My dad used to buy extra tires and oil for his limo, why causes prices went up nearly every month. If you need tires in three months you had to buy them today and put them in garage.

    In 2009 we had a 9.3% unemployment rate
    In 1992 we had a 7.5% unemployment rate
    In 1982 we had a 9.7 unemployment rate
    In 1932 we has a 23.6 unemployment rate.

  36. Brian says:

    I wonder if mylife associates my handle with my name?

    Painhrtz – Disobey! says:
    August 2, 2013 at 9:47 am
    Nom and it is getting increasingly hard to cover your tracks my lilfe actually associates my name with my user handle. that freaked me. bud of mine in IT has even had to submit user name aliases on a job app.

  37. JJ says:

    http://indianroommates.sulekha.com/fully-furnished-apartment-in-long-island-for-600-including-all-util_rentals_bethpage-ny_312071

    wow a website for rentals only available to Indians, white, black, spanish, jewish need not apply. How illegal is this. Indians are really racist. Even has ads that say stuff like Indian Women only

  38. Brian says:

    Isn’t this statement racist?

    “Indians are really racist”

  39. Anon E. Moose says:

    JJ [37];

    I highly doubt this recession historically was much of a recession at all.

    Only if the Obamanauts get to write the history of it. I rather think this will be remembers as the second depression, and Obama as Herbert Hoover — intellectual, ineffective, effete, train wreck on foreign policy — the parallels go on…

    They did a lot of things after the last depression to influence popular psychology — like banning the word “depression” and replacing it with recession in public discourse; and re-defining what it meant to be ‘unemployed’.

    Depression doesn’t mean zero employment, at its depth, about 75% of people had jobs. Using historical methods, we’re running about 16-17%; almost one in six workers. Maybe they’re not starving because of public assistance, co-habitating with family/friends, etc., but they sure ain’t happy about their circumstances, and they aren’t producing much that would lead to economic growth.

  40. JJ says:

    Are you married to a towel head?

    Brian says:
    August 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Isn’t this statement racist?

    “Indians are really racist

  41. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    [34] joyce,

    Not sure if anyone has dumped 200,000 pennies in the IRS lobby, but it does happen from time to time elsewhere.

    http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com/dont_mess_with_taxes/2010/08/county-wont-permit-man-to-pay-overdue-property-tax-with-33000-pennies.html

  42. JJ says:

    But big difference in this recession the folks hurt shot themselves like Plaxico, back in the 1930s and early 1980s it consumed all.

    This recession was a non-event IF, you did not buy a house in bubble, leveraged yourself pre-recession, did not panic and sell stock or bonds at bottom, etc.

    A 45 year old cop with a stay at home wife in Levitown NY starter home who bought home when he got married in 1991 for 150K and never traded up, had savings and did not own stock. What exactly was the recession? I live in a relatively stable blue collar town. 90% of folks recession was something they saw on TV and some panicked but had no clue what it ment to them. My neighbors bought their homes from 1982 to 1999 and have jobs as teachers, cops, firemen, nurses etc. Most have no mortgage or little mortgages, most buy a average car new and keep it 10 to 12 years. Most have pensions and most dont own much stocks. I did hear some while their CDs maturing suck and savings pay zero as a result of recession. But what did it mean to them?

    I mean a house they are going to die in anyhow went from Spring of 2009 worth 250K to Spring of 2006 to 550k to spring of 2012 390K. What does that mean. Some dont even read newspapers much. I have a neighbor who never watches TV or go on the internet. She plays tennis, does arts, house is paid off, husband has a stable job. Who knows.

    What about folks on welfare in 2006 who are still on welfare. What did 2009 mean to them.

    2009 was a wipe out to folks who bought peak housing, no savings or owned tons of stocks who over leaveraged themselves.

    All in Sandy with cars and stuff counted in. Cost me 60K. In the realm of things big deal, folks should have savings. But I have two new cars, a new oil burner, new oil tank, new sump pump etc. My costs will fall next few years as I have less to replace. Were this people not prepared for a recession. Heck we had one in 2001/2003. 2004-2007 is was raining money did these folks get rained on money for three years and just throw it out and had no money in fall of 2008.

    Plus seeing BMWs driving to unemployment office is a joke. I only had one single person even comment on my cars after Sandy. I drove a brand new 52K car to fill out a sandy application and guy told me keep spending, why should you give up your vacations, buying cars, going out just cause you had damage. Course he did not give me more than a blanket, some rubber gloves and a coffee. But hey I see plenty of 55K cars in Long Beach in Flood homes where folks are filling out disaster relief applications.

    Do you think in 1992 unemployed and flood out people had brand new 50K cars up and down driveway.

    One guy as funny, he gave me two free end tables. Then he said I will carry one to car. He then goes that is an awful nice Cadillac did you just get it. I go yea my car got flooded. He was like at least you got a nice car. Guy then goes well enjoy the tables in your house, just for fun I tell them they are not for my house but for my beach house I need to furnish to get my rental income rolling in. Guy was scratching his head and said cool.

    So in 2013 folks are rolling up to FEMA trailors in Brand New Caddies getting handouts and folks under 40 think it is the equivalent of the great depression.

    WOW. Back in Nov my daughter when house was freezing with no electric had to go sit in my wives Denaili to watch a DVD and warm up. OMG.

    Anon E. Moose says:
    August 2, 2013 at 11:22 am

    JJ [37];

    I highly doubt this recession historically was much of a recession at all.

  43. joyce says:

    43

    I love it. So even though it’s specifically mentioned in the law, gold/silver is no longer legal tender… but now they coins are not as well?

  44. JSMC says:

    #45

    Back in Nov my daughter when house was freezing with no electric had to go sit in my wives Denaili to watch a DVD and warm up.

    When I was sitting at home freezing in the dark after Sandy, I heated up water on the stove before transferring it to a bucket so I could put my feet in it to get some warmth. Is that closer to depression era tactics?

  45. JSMC says:

    Forgot mention, instead of watching a DVD, I was reading books/manga…if at night, then by candlelight.

  46. joyce says:

    hey JJ

    Do you that thing that’s west of the hudson? It’s called the rest of the country.

    So because of welfare freeloaders such as yourself are doing OK, then everyone else is doing OK?

  47. joyce says:

    hey JJ

    Do you know that thing that’s west of the hudson? It’s called the rest of the country.

    So because of welfare freeloaders such as yourself are doing OK, then everyone else is doing OK?

  48. Essex says:

    38. Spokeo would.

  49. Essex says:

    50. After a run through flyover country this summer I’d say based on road condition and new commercial construction– out on the east coast looks more run down then what I saw inland.

  50. JJ says:

    Pretty much from the other side of the Hudson all the way to Vegas nothing really exists.

    joyce says:
    August 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    hey JJ

    Do you know that thing that’s west of the hudson? It’s called the rest of the country.

  51. chicagofinance says:

    To walk from my old apartment in Chicago to Wrigley, you had to cut through boystown…….some of the bar names were hilarious….The Manhole, The Closet, Bratz, Vienna’s Sausage…..

    JJ says:
    August 2, 2013 at 9:35 am
    The men are working in real jobs on wall street, those $11 dollar an hour jobs are just “cookie jar” money for bored housewives and kids in college.
    Btw Manpower sounds like the title of a Village People album. Are you sure you were not talking to a gay bar?. Yea I was at the Village last night throwing down some beers in my leathers at some bar called Manpower.

  52. chicagofinance says:

    #1 The Sabbath is tonight
    #2 Isn’t it kind of cool that you could conceivably walk there, although I wouldn’t….I wonder whether there is a trail from the east side of the hill…..for a fact you could cross at Red Hill, turn up Crawford Corner and cut back across the highway at the Holmdel Municipal Complex…..my wife saw Train last Sunday with VIP parking and she basically was out the door and then walking into the venue in under 10 minutes…..

    Juice Box says:
    August 2, 2013 at 11:36 am
    I will be at the PNC Sunday for Sabbath.

  53. Libtard in the City says:

    My two favorite gay bar names were the Bulge, and the Hangar.

  54. JJ says:

    More imporantly are you going to see Depeche Mode at Jones beach in a few weeks. When weather is nice best place on earth to see show.

    chicagofinance says:
    August 2, 2013 at 12:38 pm

  55. JJ says:

    I used to take the short cut to 59 street bridge off LIE to avoid toll and in the 1980s in Long Island City there was a gay bar called ‘The Old Log Inn” It actually had a big log sticking straight out like a huge cock and windows were all blacked out in case the name enough and fact LIC was very seedy in 19980s was not enough for you.

    Libtard in the City says:
    August 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    My two favorite gay bar names were the Bulge, and the Hangar.

  56. daddyo says:

    NJGator – which game?

  57. NJGator says:

    daddyo – Tottenham Hotspurs v Crystal Palace…we are only in town for a weekend…needed a game in/close to London and one we had an actual chance to get tickets for.

  58. daddyo says:

    That should be awesome, even if Bale isn’t there anymore! I think the Soldado signing might fill some of the Bale gap.

    My 6yr old decided he was a Spurs fan…I have no idea how he came up with that.

  59. NJGator says:

    daddyo – Lib picked the game…he’s a Spurs fan, but it was also strategic. Crystal Palace new to the Premier League. It’s their home match and it’s easier to get tickets through them then other clubs. We still had to jump through hoops to do it. Had to buy a Crystal Palace Football Club membership in order to buy tickets, and then in order to buy tickets to a premium game, we had to buy tickets to a crap game that we won’t be around to go to.

  60. daddyo says:

    That’s hardcore – but at least you know the crowd is sincere.

    In the U.S., they would charge 5x the price and convert all the seats to corporate skyboxes.

  61. Juice Box says:

    More Meatloaf Mom!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1bMs04JK0BQ

    “Millions of young Americans are living at home, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The number of “millennials” — adults aged 18 to 31– living at home rose to 36% last year. That represented the highest percentage in the last four decades, and a significant increase from 32% just five years earlier. In 2012, 56% of adults aged 18 to 24 lived in their parental home, Pew found, as did 16% of adults aged 25 to 31. However, millennial males (40%) were significantly more likely than millennial females (32%) to live with mom and dad. “

  62. Juice Box says:

    From the demand side of the equation.

    “Only 450,000 new households are being created annually versus 1.1 million before the recession, according to real-estate marketplace Trulia; 18- to 34-year-olds make up half of that demand”

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/more-men-than-women-live-with-their-parents-2013-08-02

  63. Juice Box says:

    Meh – I have to open an account at Fidelity. Anyone here use them?

    I hear their iPad app is the tits.

    http://www.stockbrokers.com/review/fidelityinvestments

  64. JSMC says:

    #64

    So, Frank and Ethel want to retire out of high tax train towns like Ridgewood and sell their home to a young couple ready to start a family?

    Uh huh. Good luck with that, boomers.

  65. Juice Box says:

    re # 66 – It is still a recession for Wedding Singers no matter what JJ says.

  66. gator (21)-

    Never too soon to teach him how to wash down a proper fry-up with a couple pints of fresh Newcastle.

  67. Also never too soon to teach your kid to hate Arsenal.

  68. Comrade Nom Deplume says:

    [69] ricin

    Amen to that.

  69. daddyo (60)-

    Extreme self-loathing?

    “My 6yr old decided he was a Spurs fan…I have no idea how he came up with that.”

  70. NJCoast says:

    Soft shell lobsters at Restaurant Depot $3.99 a pound. Steamed lobsters and martinis on the beach tonight. Cheers!

  71. Watch Ian Holloway, Palace’s manager. He is a psychopath on the touch line.

  72. Palace should have around 12 pts at Xmas and be headed back down.

  73. chicagofinance says:

    Juice: These people are across 35 from you….two different addresses come up, so I can’t tell which one is the property.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324110404578630300602856058.html?mod=WSJ_ITP_mansion_6

  74. Comrade Nom Deplume says:
  75. Juice Box says:

    re # 75 – Whole Foods is where we all meet to trade stock picks.

  76. joyce says:

    NJCoast,

    If you don’t mind sharing, where is your beach cabana?

  77. chicagofinance says:

    Juice: you can walk to PNC…..if you get to Holland (road that T intersects to the Middletown train station)….walk past AT&T Labs, crossover Laurel/Van Shoick, Holland briefly turns into Telegraph Hill Road, and make a left onto South Holland. Just before you get to the parkway, you can go up Memorial Road, which takes you right into the parking lot at PNC……let me check the mileage….

  78. chicagofinance says:

    six mile walk

  79. chicagofinance says:

    clot: please comment….

    NY FOOD
    August 1, 2013, 8:59 p.m. ET
    .
    World-Class Wines in a New Jersey Hamlet

    Restaurant Latour in Hamburg, N.J., is home to 130,000 bottles of wine .

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    By LETTIE TEAGUE
    CONNECT

    [image] Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal
    Susanne Lerescu in Restaurant Latour’s wine cellar.
    .
    Most New Yorkers likely have never heard of, let alone visited, the hamlet of Hamburg, N.J. And yet this small place with a population of just more than 3,000 about 50 miles northwest of Midtown Manhattan is home to seven golf courses, three hotels and more than 130,000 bottles of wine.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323681904578640383308187490.html

  80. chicagofinance says:

    sorry for the mess…..
    Most New Yorkers likely have never heard of, let alone visited, the hamlet of Hamburg, N.J. And yet this small place with a population of just more than 3,000 about 50 miles northwest of Midtown Manhattan is home to seven golf courses, three hotels and more than 130,000 bottles of wine.

    The latter are situated in the seven cellars of Restaurant Latour, which may be the most notable amenity of the Crystal Springs Hotel, one of several Alpine-style buildings (think Aspen meets Garden State) that comprise the sprawling Crystal Springs Resort. The restaurant’s wine cellar is one of the best in greater New York, and quite possibly in the world.

    The cellar was the creation of the resort’s late founder, Gene Mulvihill, who was both a passionate golfer and a devoted oenophile. Mr. Mulvihill, who passed away in 2012, began collecting wine in the 1960s and eventually amassed more than 15,000 bottles. It was his personal cellar that provided the restaurant with its opening inventory in 2004.

    “Mr. Mulvhill decided to bring his wine collection to the hotel,” the restaurant’s sommelier, Susanne Lerescu, told me during a recent cellar tour. (All restaurant guests are treated to tours of the cellar, as well as a complimentary glass of Champagne. Nonrestaurant guests may sign up for the daily public tour—sans Champagne, alas.) The Latour cellar, which is actually made up of seven individual cellars—each devoted to different types of wine—was in the works years before the restaurant was built. The restaurant, Ms. Lerescu said, was almost an afterthought.

    Restaurant Latour is a small space, tucked away on the third floor of the hotel. It seats only 50 or so guests and is open only four nights a week (Thursday through Sunday). Some nights are much busier than others. On the Thursday night I visited, the restaurant was less than half full—though my dining companion and I were probably the only ones who would be driving home afterward. According to Robby Younes, the hotel’s vice president for hospitality, about 75% of restaurant diners stay at the hotel overnight or they “hire a car service or a helicopter so they can drink wine.” (I traveled with a designated driver instead.)

    When Mr. Younes joined Crystal Springs in 2008, the restaurant’s cellar was “Bordeaux, Bordeaux, Bordeaux,” he said. Mr. Younes, who oversees the entire property and is also in charge of the wine buying, was recruited by Mr. Mulvihill from the Copeland restaurant in Morristown, where he was both manager and wine buyer.

    Mr. Younes promptly began adding wines from other parts of the world—from the Rhone, Burgundy, California, Argentina and well beyond. “We were like two kids in Toys ‘R’ Us,” he said of his partnership with Mr. Mulvihill—and their buying binge. And he insisted the wine was the only goal: “We built this cellar out of passion—not to make money.”

    This would certainly seem to be the case, based on some of the wine prices on the Restaurant Latour list. Many of the older and most collectible wines are still priced the same as they were 10 years ago. “Our prices are lower than auction houses and some retail stores,” asserted Mr. Younes. In fact, the prices (particularly those of Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux) are so reasonable that some Crystal Springs guests have tried to buy in bulk. Mr Younes recounted a story of hotel guests who requested that a case of wine from the restaurant be delivered to their room. Mr. Younes refused that request—as well as that from another group that wanted to buy a 3-liter bottle of 2007 DRC La Tâche “to go” after ordering about $12,000 worth of wine. (The wine cost $14,000 at the time.) “The wine is meant to be enjoyed in the restaurant,” said Mr. Younes.

    Some customers take Mr. Younes’s dictum well to heart. Take, for example, the man from Lyndhurst, N.J., who ordered four great bottles of Bordeaux (1982 Petrus, 1982 Lafite, 1982 Latour and 1945 Mouton) with his dinner. The bottles cost $6,400, $6,900, $5,800 and $13,900. The man drank a couple glasses of each wine (and offered Mr. Younes some as well), while his wife contented herself with two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.

    And then there are the customers who take calculated risks while ordering some of the restaurant’s truly old bottles—like the 1912 Château Latour that was “on its deathbed,” according to Ms. Lerescu. But in cases like this, it’s “buyer beware.” If the wine isn’t flawed but merely enfeebled, the diner still has to pay the full price.

    Fortunately, my ambition was much smaller; I was just looking for a good wine to drink with dinner that night. But with the Latour wine list, that’s not easily achieved—there’s so much to choose from. A great Chablis? An underpriced Châteauneuf-du-Pape? My choice wasn’t made easier by my companion, who ordered fish when I ordered pork. Now we had an additional problem: We needed to drink both white and red.

    But the half-bottle list was quite short and not nearly as inspiring as the list of full bottles. Ms. Lerescu, brilliant and accommodating, furnished the answer. Why not order both a Chablis and a Châteauneuf-du-Pape—and drink half of each bottle? (Or less than half, in the case of my driver.)

    And so we shared half of a brilliant 2002 Christian Moreau Chablis Vaudesir ($90, or $45 for half) and a lush, super-ripe 2009 Domaine de Marcoux Vieilles Vignes Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($125). (She actually opened two bottles of the Chablis—the first bottle was a bit oxidized, and so she promptly popped a second.)

    It had been the late Mr. Mulvihill’s ambition to have “the biggest and the best” wine cellar in the world, according to Mr. Younes. It certainly looked like they had come pretty close. Does Mr. Younes believe they had achieved it, that his work is done? He did not. In fact, he is searching for yet more wine right now. He wants to build the number of bottles to 200,000. But it has to be the right sort of wine. “I want to have wine that nobody else in the world owns,” he declared.

    That’s 70,000 more reasons to drive to Hamburg sometime.

  81. Juice Box says:

    re # 81 – I would bike it…. Seems like a gamble to go down that road. There may be a fence. I will perhaps have to drive down that road tonight to see if it is even open…

    Google

    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=south+holland+road+holmdel+nj&ll=40.38503,-74.168036&spn=0.009267,0.013797&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&hnear=S+Holland+Rd,+Holmdel,+Monmouth,+New+Jersey+07733&gl=us&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=40.385084,-74.167929&panoid=ijEX81xpne2L_V5lVUWYOQ&cbp=12,293.09,,0,10.08

  82. chicagofinance says:

    You are right….that thing looks like an emergency vehicle lane or a truck entrance….very sketchy…..

    Juice Box says:
    August 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm
    re # 81 – I would bike it…. Seems like a gamble to go down that road. There may be a fence. I will perhaps have to drive down that road tonight to see if it is even open…

  83. chicagofinance says:

    worst case is you continue beyond the parkway to Crawford’s Corner and then double back across at the substation complex at exit 116….

    chicagofinance says:
    August 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm
    You are right….that thing looks like an emergency vehicle lane or a truck entrance….very sketchy…..

    Juice Box says:
    August 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm
    re # 81 – I would bike it…. Seems like a gamble to go down that road. There may be a fence. I will perhaps have to drive down that road tonight to see if it is even open…

  84. Juice Box says:

    I don’t want to run afoul of the State Police either, which pretty much is guaranteed if you deviate from their crowd control plans. Over the years I have seen them jack-boot plenty of people at concerts for no reason at all. Last thing I need is the State Police and the Joint Terrorism task force chasing me through the woods. I ain’t as fast as I used to be…..

  85. chi (81)-

    Wine list is long on big names/old vintages, but not on great, reasonable wines you actually want to drink. It’s like a cruise ship. Plus, it’s in Sussex Co. Yuk.

  86. Go to Krogh’s if you’re in Sussex.

  87. Or, the Mountain House.

  88. Juice Box says:

    re: # 92 – part time? baloney… It’s all temps, right to hire at my gig.

    I have a few and not nearly enough, it’s like that TV show Survivor for them. I have some Fortune 500 polished folks too. I am letting a few go soon, as if I had a choice (I don’t so layoff I have mouths to feed too). Few of them are skilled but slackers and the rest are transplants from all corners of the globe. Tonight the youngest stayed late to get thing done. He shows promise, if he wants to impress me he will start speaking up. These kids are quiet, I know I am old but a sandwich at lunch goes a long way. I used to work till 11 ish on a Friday back when it mattered and I made sure everyone knew, the kids today not so much.

    This all comes from the board FYI so it all platinum politics, no hiring just temps. No way no how I would run the show this way, we are turning Japanese. The Hipsters are the new grass eaters.

  89. Fabius Maximus says:

    #61 Gator

    Selhurst Park is a nice venue I went to many times. It’s small and fairly modern but very family friendly. I saw a lot of great games there back in the 90s when Ian Wright and Mark Bright were making an name for themselves. Ian Wright went on to greatness with my beloved Gooners.
    There is no subway (Tube) service so you have to take a train to get there so add some extra travel time. The membership schemes are common on a lot of grounds these days to cut down on the hooligans. Not a big problem with Palace, but it is there. Advice to Stu is play it neutral. American will get you so far but there is a hardcore Eagle contingent that won’t tolerate you celebrating a Scum goal.

    Maybe you will get to sit in one of the most famous seats in football. Its know as the seat where “the sh1t hit the fan”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFsW6vvBwHk

  90. Fabius Maximus says:

    #68 Clot

    Have you got those mini kegs of Sport Direct Brown Ale in stock yet? How about I put a mini-keg on Palace finishing higher than the Toon?

  91. Lawyer says:

    Juice: you can walk to PNC…..if you get to Holland (road that T intersects to the Middletown train station)….walk past AT&T Labs, crossover Laurel/Van Shoick, Holland briefly turns into Telegraph Hill Road, and make a left onto South Holland. Just before you get to the parkway, you can go up Memorial Road, which takes you right into the parking lot at PNC……let me check the mileage….

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