Roundup: Harvey Weinstein, Redlining, Doo Wop …

I’m not sure which media outlet reported this story first. Alert “06880” readers sent me links to a number of different sites — including the New York Post and TMZ.

But the most breathless, over-the-top reporting might belong to a website called Dirt. (“Looking for some dirt?” its newsletter promo asks.)

The first 3 paragraphs say:

With his once high-flying life in penurious, imprisoned shambles, the former Connecticut “Gold Coast” mansion of disgraced former Hollywood super-producer Harvey Weinstein has been demolished, and the prime waterfront acreage recently put up for sale with a $21 million asking price. Spanning a total of 5.66 acres, the former Weinstein estate comprises two separate parcels along one of Westport’s most exclusive and expensive streets. The larger 3.03-acre plot is priced separately at $11 million, while the smaller 2.63-acre parcel has a $10 million hang tag.

Once one of Tinseltown’s most powerful, prolific, and infamously imperious power players, Weinstein was sentenced to 39 years in prison on multiple charges of rape and sexual assault, first in New York in 2020 and then again last year in California.

Now 71, the Miramax co-founder sold the two parcels that form his former Westport spread for $16 million in 2018, just as his spectacular fall from grace and serious legal issues went into overdrive. Though proceeds likely went to pay his high-priced army of criminal and civil defense attorneys, on paper, Weinstein made out like a bandit on the sale. He acquired the two properties in two transactions, the first in 1994 and the second in 2000, for a total of $8.24 million. He and his second-ex wife, red carpet fashion designer Georgina Chapman, held their wedding on the property and some years later hosted fundraising events for Barak Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Want more Dirt? Click here for the full story.

Dirt also provided this action photo of the demolition:

(Photo/@runningaroundnyc, via Dirt)


Westport popped up in another media outlet this week, also in adjective-filled prose. (And, like the Dirt story, spotted by alert reader Allan Siegert.)

The University of Connecticut newspaper The Daily Campus examined the real estate practice known as redlining in the state. (The article did not define the term; it refers to racial discrimination in real estate sales and mortgages.)

Neil Srinath wrote:

The stereotype of Connecticut as a hivemind of boat shoes and Vineyard Vines-wearing, lawsuit-threatening, wealthy white families may be cosmetically true in wealthier neighborhoods of towns like Westport, Greenwich and Darien, but the housing crisis has exposed deep fractures caused by the racially and economically-discriminatory practice of redlining prominent in Connecticut until the 1970s, when it was nominally outlawed.

The solution to these racialized inequalities could be found partially in an all-hands-on-deck expansion of meaningfully affordable housing across the state, but some Connecticut lawmakers and so-called “anti-home” activists from wealthier towns are pushing back. The racist and classist footprint of redlining in Connecticut is thus being preserved under the pretext of “local control” over planning and zoning.

Click here for the full story.

The Daily Campus story included a photograph of Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House. The caption said: “Connecticut’s stereotype of wealthy white families can be seen in wealthier neighborhoods like Westport, Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan.”


Westport Police report 4 arrests for disorderly conduct, between April 5 and 12.

One incident involved a 41-year-old man and 33-year-old female.

One was of a 58-year-old female, who also faces a charge of criminal mischief.

The fourth arrest involved a 22-year-old man, who was also charged with strangulation in the domestic violence incident.

A 32-year-old woman was also arrested for larceny, following an investigation into a January shoplifting incident at Ulta Beauty.


Speaking of public safety, alert reader Lynn Flint writes:

“People are running around on the roads in this warm weather at night, especially teenagers. There are bicyclers without any lights at all, or any reflective gear, on the road in pitch blackness.”

Ignorance? Forgetfulness? Symptoms of an I-don’t-care-about-anyone-else attitude?

Whatever the reasons, they’re not good enough.

If you’re out at night, please make sure others can see you!

This reflective waist belt costs $17.60 on Amazon.


For some people, doo wop is a religion.

And on April 22 (6 p.m.), ’50s and ’60s harmonies will fill Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s Branson Hall.

The University of Massachusetts’ a cappella Doo Wop Shop group comes to town. The church will be one more great venue, after performances in previous years at Radio City Music Hall, and the Obama White House.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Sam Betit. The 2022 Staples High School graduate is a former Orphenian and Player.

And — oh yeah — his father, Rev. John Betit, is Christ & Holy Trinity’s rector.

Admission is free. But they’re raising funds for an upcoming album, so be sure to bring a nice donation for the collection plate.

I mean, the donation table.

The University of Massachusetts Doo Wop Shop.


“Creating from the HeART: Cultivating Our Beloved Community” is a long name for a big, important — and free — event.

LifeBridge’s celebration of well-being through the arts (April 27, 4 p.m., The Knowlton, Bridgeport) features Bridgeport-based artists and poets, and artwork produced by Urban Scholars students.

Keynote speaker Cey Adams, founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings, will share his journey as an artist.

The goal of the event is to “bring the community together around the healing of urban and racial trauma through artistic self-expression.”

LifeBridge helps disadvantaged Bridgeport youths. The Urban Scholars Program offers art, music, martial arts, robotics, dance, science and math instruction, projects led by professionals in their fields, and personal tutoring. There is a 2-month day-long summer camp, too.

Sponsors include Westporters Howard and Joyce Greene, and Westonite Lori Goertz.

To register for the free event (and learn about sponsorships), click here.


Someone’s got to do it, and I’m glad its not me:

Check out this guy working on the cell tower yesterday, next to the fire station.

(Photo/Matt Murray)


Jack Szepessy — who in a 4-decade career at Weston’s Singing Oaks Day Camp taught generations of area youngsters how to shoot a rifle safely — died last month surrounded by his family at their Grafton, Vermont home.

The Bridgeport native graduate from Roger Ludlowe High School in 1946. He served in the Army, stationed in Hawaii as a communications team leader. While there, he got a surfing lesson from Duke Kahanamoku.

Working as a counselor at Camp Kemosabe he met Nancy Lucas MacCutcheon. They were married for over 70 years.

Jack played football at Central Connecticut State Teachers College, then earned a master’s in education at NYU. He taught industrial arts at Fairfield Woods Junior High School for over 40 years. Many students, including those in his Fairfield Adult Education woodworking classes, became lifelong friends.

Along with his work at Singing Oaks, where he was a National Rifle Association-certified instructor, Jack drove a camp bus and shared a vast repertoire of camp songs.

A history buff who introduced his family to the joys of camping, skiing, sailing and driving sports cars, he made sure family vacations included visits to historical sites.

Jack served on the vestry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield, and was a lay reader and Young People’s Fellowship leader. He was also a life member of Fayerweather Yacht Club, and an officer in the Penfield Sail & Power Squadron.

Jack was predeceased by his brothers Thomas and James Szepessy Allen, and sister Rose Marie Bernstein. He is survived by his wife Nancy of Grafton, brother Louis of Delray Beach, Florida, son Chris of Moosup, daughter Ellen Szepessy (David) Acker, adoring granddaughter Charlie Ayla Acker of Grafton, and many nephews and nieces.

Donations in Jack’s name may be made to

Jack Szepessy


Westport schools are on vacation this week.

With the weather warming up, someone who did not go to the Caribbean or Europe took time for some old-fashioned fun in the sand.

Jonathan Alloy spotted this perfect “Westport … Naturally” scene:

(Photo/Jonathan Alloy)


And finally … in honor of the Doo Wop Shop’s appearance here later this month (story above), here’s a collection of some classics.

I could have listed dozens more. What are your favorites? Click “Comments” below.

(From doo wop to Harvey Weinstein, today’s Roundup includes a heap o’ stuff. If you enjoy this daily feature, please support “06880.” Just click here to help — and thank you!)

16 responses to “Roundup: Harvey Weinstein, Redlining, Doo Wop …

  1. Is the WPD reporting traffic arrests yet? If not, why not? It’s something that affects all of us. Especially this time of year.

  2. Despite the fact that Harvey lived there, that house was such a beautiful house, I was sad to see it go. I used to play there are a young girl with Jennifer Smolen. If anyone keeps in contact, please give her my best!

  3. Merritt Juliano

    Before we make anymore housing decisions, we need to shift to a regenerative future. It doesn’t make sense to keep building old housing structures that are not going to serve us in the future we’ve inherited. We need to start imagining new ways of living and new building structures. Here is an example: I’m not saying this is what we should do necessarily, I’m saying we need to stop what we’re doing because what we’re doing is steeped in old ways of thinking, and we need to start making decisions based on new ways of thinking as soon as possible.

  4. Philip Johnson purchased approximately 49 acres in New Canaan, where his remarkable Glass House was built , along with 3 other structures. It’s a tribute to modern architecture and The International Style. Mr. Johnson invited many of his like-minded architect friends to join him in building homes in town. It’s on the National Trust for Historic preservation and worth a visit.

  5. A little more abut Jack Szepessy. He originally took care of riflery at the Weston Field Club’s Summer Camp (Indian Walk, I think). Singing Oaks lured him away along with other counselors. Jack was very diligent about the handling of the guns, including their transport to and from the range and while in use. I thought he was a Marine, but he definitely was military. He tought me and I’m sure hundreds of others on target shooting and safety. As I think about it, that was the last time I shot a gun (circa the sixties).

  6. Of the four communities you mentioned, Greenwich, New Caanan and Darien also were restricted against Jews. The fact that Westport wasn’t can be attributed, at least in part, to the Rev. Daniel Gibson of the Saugatuck Congregational Church, who not only preached against anti-Semitism but provided Westport’s first synagogue, Temple Israel, with a place to meet until they got their own building.

  7. If you’re that clad-in-black, night-time dog walker hell-bent on qualifying for a Darwin Award, even better that the neon glow belt would be a simple reflective safety vest (also on Amazon for <$20.). After that, we can address your driving that drab gray car in foggy drizzle with all the lights off.

  8. RE: former Weinstein house and other local demolitions. Is there a company here that saves fixtures, windows, doors, cabinets, etc. when there is a demoliton? I know of them in other towns around the country. Hopefully so. 🤞

  9. India van Voorhees

    Am I missing something? If the Weinstein properties are for sale why is that gorgeous house being demolished?
    Really … if anyone knows why, please explain.

  10. Richard Johnson

    I find it a little troubling that this historic house was torn down for no apparent reason to be replaced with… nothing, by a former or current member of the Westport Historical Society. Seems quite anathema, no?

    As previously reported here: “Bentley told “06880”: “We have engaged the Westport-based, world-class architectural firm of Roger Ferris + Partners to design a house for the property. With their local roots and global vision, we are confident they will produce something that is right for the location.” I guess that fell through.

  11. Carl Addison Swanson, Wrecker, '66.

    As my Daddy used to say: “Get what you need but the rest is just showing off.” 40% living below the poverty line and over 600K homeless in this country, and our focus is tearing down 16 million$ whorehouses. There was a time in this town’s history when we were more concerned with the less fortunate rather than the “show offs.”

  12. Little Star 🎵
    By the Elegants 🎶

  13. Bonnie Scott Connolly

    The minister at Saugatuck Congregational Church was Gibson Daniels and he was a great person.

    • Carl Addison Swanson, Wrecker, '66.

      Pastor Daniels was a very nice man who gave boring sermons. Ted Hoskins, who still is preaching to the ME islanders, turned that church into fun.

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