Video Promises Explosive Postal Service Expose — With A Westport Link

“06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.”

This story takes both the zip code and blog motto literally.

Nicolette Weinbaum is a former Inklings school newspaper editor, and 2012 Staples graduate. Now a Villanova University sophomore and activist, her Nicolette Post website offers insights into culture, politics, trends and entertainment.

In a few days, she’ll post an explosive video she hopes will gain national attention. Today, she offered “06880” a world premiere. (The link to view it is at the end of this story.)

Nicolette Weinbaum stands near the post office, for her video.

Nicolette Weinbaum stands near the post office, for her video.

The video starts with an overview of the US Postal Service‘s financial woes. But she quickly zeroes in on her local post office — well, the building that served that purpose for over 70 years.

Nicolette’s “eye-opening” finding that “should concern all Americans” includes a look back at the limestone and brick building at 154 Post Road East. Designed as a New Deal project by a former World War I flying ace, the post office cost $35,000 for the land, $108,000 to build.

Nicolette offers 2 very intriguing facts.

One is that although the building was appraised for $3.6 million, it was sold a couple of years ago for just $2.4 million. The purchaser — an Atlanta developer — turned it into the Post 154 restaurant.

The Westport Post Office, near the end of its 70-year run.

The Westport Post Office, near the end of its 70-year run.

Westport is not the only place where a historic post office was sold. (Full disclosure: I’m a talking head in Nicolette’s video. I say the new Playhouse Square location “looks like a military recruiting center, not an 06880 post office.”)

Just a few miles away, Stamford’s  1916 post office on Atlantic Street will soon turn into a twin-building, 21-story residential-retail complex. Greenwich, Hartford, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Norwich have also lost post offices to private investors.

Nicolette says that across the country, historic, taxpayer-funded post offices are being sold to private interests at prices below their appraised values.

USPS logoThe other stunning fact: According to the video, in 2006 Congress mandated that the Postal Service pre-pay retiree health care benefits, at a cost of $55 billion over 10 years. That created a $5.5 billion annual deficit, for an organization that had been in the black.

Nicolette calls the USPS a victim of “toxic Congressional politics.” It is not, she says, truly broken.

Nicolette ends the video with a word about “shocking conflicts of interest that go all the way to the top of the US Senate.” Part of the information comes from investigative reporter Peter Byrne, author of the book Going Postal.

What are those conflicts of interest? You’ll have to wait for part 2 of the video to find out.

Now that may really PO you.

(Click above to see the world premiere of Nicolette’s video.)

10 responses to “Video Promises Explosive Postal Service Expose — With A Westport Link

  1. Mark Demmerle

    Well done Nicolette! I noticed Diane Feinstein’s name flash briefly In the video clip. I imagine I will be seeing Richard Blum’s in part 2 video. Haha!
    Have fun and, good luck.

  2. Cobie Graber

    In New Canaan, we just lost our post office in favor of a mobile unit with no access for handicapped or seniors and limited services. Now, that is gone, too. And the new temporary post office occupies an empty storefront on Main Street with no parking. There are no signs that they are looking for a permanent location.

  3. Estelle Margolis

    Dan,

    I can’t get any video. Can you send it? Thanks, Estelle

  4. Excellent work, Nicolette. I am looking forward to seeing the next episode, especially with regard to how developers managed to secure very valuable Westport real estate for a price well under the market.

  5. Patrick Monks

    Fairfield’s 06824 Post Office just moved to a tiny store front on the Post road with limited parking. The building is now being turned into a restaurant and retail. What a waste. I really enjoy the uniqueness of the architecture of each Post office.

  6. Bart Shuldman

    Congrats Nicolette. As a younger person you are doing something most don’t, get into the details. You have learned how the government is squandering millions of not billions.

    We continue to hear how we cannot cut 4% of our US government budget by the President and others. This should show us how the government continues to mismanage so much, that the 4% should be so easy.

    Instead, as we see in our state budget, we continue to rack up billions in more debt. Just in case you don’t know, CT liabilities appear to have grown another $2 Billion.

    ONE DAY SOMEONE WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR ALL THIS.

    Nicolette somehow I hope you share this with your generation and start asking tough questions. If not you will be left dealing with the huge debt or your children. The generation is front of you appears not to be willing.

  7. Nick Thiemann

    There was a For Sale sign out in front of the old post offiv\ce for months. It sold during the depths of the real estate bust. We don’t know when the appraisal was done. Maybe it was a great price.

  8. Nancy Powers Conklin

    I am positive that Nancy Pelosi and her husband have their hand in these post office purchasing transactions, and are making a bundle from it!!