Ken Bernhard is a principal in Cohen & Wolf’s municipal, real estate, and business and corporate groups. He works in the firm’s office at 320 Post Road West.
He’s also a former state representative, assistant minority leader and Westport town attorney.
He’s nobody’s fool.
This morning, Bernhard heard an enormous crunching sound coming from the building’s top floor.
Morgan Stanley — the tenant there — is moving out. Workers were methodically moving every piece of furniture — cherry desks, tables, chairs, sofas, bookcases, credenzas, you name it — onto the ground.
A chipper then chewed every single piece up.
Bernhard — who helped create the Syria Fund, which provides education, medical supplies, household goods and food to families living in desperate areas underserved by large, mainstream organizations — was appalled.
He asked the foreman of the company — Total Relocation Services — what was going on. The man said they had a contract. Morgan Stanley’s floor must be “broom clean” by the close of business today.
Bernhard asked the foreman to check that the financial services firm really wanted to toss at least $100,000 worth of perfectly good furniture away.
Yep, the forerman reported. A Morgan Stanley representative repeated the claim: “Broom clean” by the end of the day.
Bernhard swung into action. He called Jeff Wieser. The CEO of Homes With Hope raced over. He salvaged what Bernhard estimates is “1/20” of the furniture being demolished.
Bernhard also called 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. He said he would send someone over, to see what he could do.
The foreman said he’d had no real notice of the project. But, he told Bernhard, next week the company is scheduled to do a project “4 times as big,” not far away. That may be Morgan Stanley’s Nyala Farms complex.
Bernhard hopes to organize non-profits, and save some of what is there.
“It’s a collective effort,” he says.
It certainly is.
But what does it say about Morgan Stanley — and our society — that it has to be?