Take $100,000 Worth Of Perfectly Good Furniture. Then Throw It Out The Window.

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.

Into the chipper it goes.

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.

A small portion of the furniture Morgan Stanley is throwing away …

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.

… another shot …

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?

… and a 3rd. (Photos/Ken Bernhard)

29 responses to “Take $100,000 Worth Of Perfectly Good Furniture. Then Throw It Out The Window.

  1. Adam Vengrow

    so disturbing!!! there are so many places that need this stuff. I just learned about this new place called Veterans Base Camp being set up for all Veterans to go and get job training. They need everything. Local volunteer Tom Dorney will pick stuff up and bring it there. I just sent an elyptical exercise machine. Why would any anyone throw away things that others can use!!!


  2. Rindy Higgins

    Thank you, Ken. You always seem to be in the right place, and with your big heart, to help.

  3. Happy I don’t use Morgan Stanley!
    Hooray for the heroes like Ken Bernhard

  4. This is appalling. I hope someone talks some sense into the ‘broom clean’ person. There are several nonprofits serving the homeless and refugees who could use this. I’d be willing to help if you want to put me in touch with the foreman. Everyone is passing the buck.

  5. Sounds as though Morgan Stanley is connected to Trump. Does anyone there have a brain??

  6. Way to go Ken!!

  7. When ever I hear the Name Ken Bernhard it is because he has gone out of his way to do something kind, sensible generous & good.
    Thank You Mr. Bernhard !

  8. Jim Wheeler

    It is a sad commentary on our culture and morality. If done with something, throw it away without a thought to those who might need it or could use it. That kind of waste is disgusting. Unfortunately, it is all about money.

  9. Mary Maynard

    Sometimes American attitudes make me sick. mmm

  10. Audrey Hertzel

    Unfortunately, this happens all over. Very sad. Just ask any building contractor.

  11. We live in a throw away society. Seems good sense was thrown away as well. Thanks Ken. Always a pleasure to hear about things you do.

  12. Nancy Hunter

    Can varnished or painted wood be recycled like Christmas trees?

  13. obnoxious

  14. JP Vellotti

    Confused…didn’t Morgan Stanley just put a sign up on that building? Wasn’t all the renovation work for them?

  15. They’re moving from 320 Post Road West to the building opposite the Fire Department headquarters on Post Road East.

    • JP Vellotti

      Oh thanks. I didn’t realize they were already in Westport

      • They’ve got a bigger presence at Nyala Farm, which they apparently are leaving as well. That may be the “4 times larger” broom clean project next week (referenced in my story above).

  16. Michael Calise

    GE did the same thing a few years ago in Saugatuck in a space that was fully outfitted but never used . Unfortunately the used office furniture and equipment market is so weak that this is common practice. Additionally once it is fully depreciated a sale becomes taxable which further guarantees disposal. Factor in transportation, storage expenses and labor costs and this is where we end up.

  17. Susan Iseman

    What used to be a used office furniture store in Stamford confirmed the very same thing. They now only stock new as used office furniture doesn’t sell.

  18. Donna Rosenfeld

    Anyone who has ever tried to donate used office furniture quickly learns the sad truth set forth in Michael Calises statement. Most charitable organizations will tell you they are not interested. If there are groups in need perhaps they need to get the word out to the commercial real estate brokerage community.

  19. Nancy Hunter

    Nevermind turning this fortune into unusable mulch, as it’s now been done. Have you no youth centers in need of a desk, or no persons anywhere in need of a sturdy chair?
    In future, think twice Mr. Scrooge.
    (it’s now unimaginable what happens to your throw away electronics… )

  20. Robert Mitchell

    A few weeks ago a law firm at 50 Washington Street in South Norwalk closed their offices. Westport Historical Society and other groups were offered the chance to select and take whatever they wanted, before the place was made ‘broom clean’. Would that Morgan Stanley had had the common sense and civic awareness to do the same. Thank God Cohen & Wolf are in the building and Ken was on the case!

  21. Joshua Stien

    Could even benefit new small business owners trying to get off the ground in addition to non-profits!

  22. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Give the businesses a tax deduction for repurposing these goods and watch this problem go away. But spare the righteous indignation. Is this so much different than tearing down houses that would be the envy of anyone residing outside of Fairfield County to build a shrine to your accumulation of discretionary income? Fix the problem at the source and stop pointing fingers might be more righteous than self-righteous. If you could take it with you it might just provide more fuel to keep hell in business . Companies have no heart and wealthy people often don’t know what to do with their money other than howling at the moon. Thanks Dan for letting me howl at the moon.

  23. The founder of a Westport startup says that when he moved into his first office here recently, the owner was going to toss out the previous tenant’s furniture. The startup founder asked if he could have it. He furnished 5 offices, a reception area and conference room with furniture that other would have been thrown out, saving probably $15,000. You can’t make this stuff up.

  24. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    It sounds as if this might be an expansion area for the Kitchen Renovation Angel.

  25. Pat Saviano

    This is not the whole story!! Morgan Stanley did work with several charities and donated whatever anyone was willing to take before Total Relocation was called in.