Tag Archives: Harvey Weinstein

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 GraftonCares.com.

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!)

Roundup: Real Estate, Trash, YMCA …


July’s real estate numbers are in.

According to Brown Harris Stevens, while the total number of closed homes declined from 96 to 69 from last year’s frothy July numbers — still the 2nd-highest number of closings for  the month since 2001 — the average closing price rose 19%, from $1,627,253 to $1,929, 908. That’s the highest for July since 2008.

Houses sold, on average, for 101% of the list price. That’s the 5th straight month the figure has surpassed 100%.

As of July 31, there were also 103 pending sales. Another 178 were listed as “active inventory.”

As for condos: 31 closed in July 2021, up from 22 the previous July. The average closing price for condos in the first 7 months of 2021 was $628,002, a rise of 34$ since the comparable period a year ago.

The total volume of house house and condo closings since January 1 is $644,692,685. That’s up a whopping 45% since the first 7 months of 2020. (Hat tip: Chuck Greenlee)

This 4-acre property on Beachside Avenue — once part of the JC Penney estate — is listed for $6,495,000. One drawback: It is not actually on the water.


Lou Weinberg is best known as the chair of Westport’s Community Gardens.

But the Westporter’s stewardship of the earth extends to the water. He writes:

“A recent walk along Burying Hill Beach yielded an astronomical amount of garbage. The bag on the right was what my wife and I picked up. The garbage on the left was left by a generous donor or donors.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

“As I’m sure you can guess, there were plenty of single-use plastic bottles, bottle caps, aluminum cans, balloons, fishing line, food wrappers, etc. On this walk, we even saw a used diaper and the leftovers from somebody’s lunches.

“What one can do: The Burying Hill lifeguards gave us the bag. Perhaps others who are taking a stroll along the beach and beyond could bring their own bags, or get one from the guards. Any effort to bag the garbage may result in one less piece of plastic ingested by wildlife, and a cleaner environment. Nature deserves better.”


Several years ago, the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club ordered a historical plaque, commemorating its Westport Historic District Commission Preservation Award of 2018 for the heritage of its building.

Delivery problems delayed the ceremony until this week. Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten — who made the presentation to former commodore Paul Rosenblatt — provides the backstory:

The SHYC clubhouse was originally a stable. It was built circa 1887 by Henry C. Eno, as part of his Queen Ann seaside summer estate.

The SHYC was established 1959 by J. Anthony Probst. He remodeled the stable into a clubhouse, with the help of landscape architect Evan Harding. During the 2018 presentation, the HDC noted that underwater marsh land was dredged to create a harbor. It was the first of its kind on the eastern seaboard to feature an underwater bubble system, allowing boats to remain moored year-round.

Former commodore Paul Rosenblatt, the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club plaque, and the historic clubhouse.


As I walked out of the Y yesterday, a man approached.

“Is this the YMCA?” he asked.

Duh! I thought. What else would it be?

Then I looked around. There is virtually no signage anywhere.

There’s nothing on Wilton Road, or Merritt Parkway Exit 41 — the only 2 ways to enter the parking lot — that say “Welcome to the Westport Weston Family YMCA!”

The sign above the entrance reads “Bedford Family Center.” Who — including most members — knows that’s the name of the Y building.

High above the entrance — where no one looks, and besides, it’s very hard to make out — is the “Y” logo. But that’s it. It doesn’t even say “YMCA.”

I guess there really is no such thing as a dumb question.

Can you see the “Y” above the “Bedford Family Center” sign? (Photo/Dan Woog)


No one likes to see a police cruiser in their rear view mirror.

But everyone should support the Westport Police Benevolent Association’s 3rd annual Car Cruise. It’s tomorrow (Saturday, August 21, 4 to 8 p.m., Saugatuck train station parking lot #1).

Cars of all years, makes and models are welcome. It’s a family-friendly event, with music, food trucks and a raffle.

The fee to enter and display a car is $20, with the funds earmarked for causes like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, and Veterans & Families of Fallen Officers.

The first 100 cars receive a gift bag. Trophies will be awarded too.

A previous Westport PBA car rally


In 2017, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a story about Westporter Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times. The smoldering #MeToo movement suddenly caught fire.

The 2 journalists will speak at the Westport Library’s inaugural fundraising event, “The Exchange: Conversations About The Issues of Our Time.” The October 5 (10 a.m.) event will be moderated by Westport corporate executive Joan Gillman,

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.


The other day, “Westport … Naturally” featured a snowy egret enjoying a meal. Today, we show one in flight.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


To purchase tickets or a table for this special event go to

And finally … speaking of the YMCA (as we were above): Maybe we need these guys as greeters in front.

Photo Challenge #312

It looked like the Longshore entrance drive — but it wasn’t.

It reminded many readers of Sherwood Island — but it wasn’t.

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed the tree-lined drive leading to what used to be Harvey Weinstein’s home. Now demolished, it sat adjacent to Burying Hill Beach. (Click here to see.)

Rich Stein, Ryan Burke and Michael Brennecke were the only 3 to correctly identify the (very private) site. Michael (and Sam Febbraio) also referenced it by a previous owner: the Glendinning estate.

I’m not sure if Harvey ever had any wild parties there. (Though I could guess.)

But I know for sure the Glendinnings did.

That’s all I’ll say. Now we’ll just move on to this week’s Photo Challenge.

If you have any idea at all where you’d see this week’s very difficult image, click “Comments” below.

(Phoro/Chris Sotire)


Roundup: Election Day Ballots, Pink Aid, More

It’s been a long 5 months since COVID-19 struck.

But Election Day will be here before we know it.

In Connecticut this year, an elector can vote either in person at the polls from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, or by mail (absentee ballot).

The Secretary of the State will send applications for absentee ballots to all registered voters the first 2 weeks in September. Completed applications should be delivered to the town clerk’s office as soon as possible, either by dropping off in the black drop box at the rear entrance of Town Hall, or by mailing to Westport Town Clerk, 110 Myrtle Ave, Westport, CT 06880.

Ballots will be issued by the town clerk’s office starting Monday, October 5 by mail or in person by appointment only. Beginning October 5, completed ballots may be dropped off in the drop box behind Town Hall, or by mailing to the address above.

Click here for more information about absentee voting, checking or making changes to voter registration, and registering to vote.

NOTE: If you have already submitted an application to receive a mail-in ballot for the November 3 election, disregard the additional application you will receive from the Secretary of the State next month.

Pink Aid turns 10 this year. For a decade, the organization has provided emergency financial funding to breast cancer patients in treatment.

Pink Aid began serving women in Connecticut and parts of New York. They’ve now expanded to meet the needs of patients and families throughout the US.

During the pandemic, needs have become even greater. To meet increased need, the group launched a Pink Aid Lipstick Challenge. Participants can “Pucker, Post & Pledge” — and get friends and family to do the same.

Click here to learn more. There are some great social media posts too — including a very sweet one from Courtney Prussin.

One post in particular is really sweet – Westport’s young breast cancer survivor Courtney Prussin and her daughter Camryn created an Instagram reel, which Staples cheerleaders will promote.

If you’re on Instagram, you can see the dance @cprussin31.

This week’s #FridayFlowers project graces Fire Department headquarters. Our firefighters are grateful to the Westport Garden Club.

And, as shown in the photo below, assistant fire chief Matt Cohen and deputy fire chief Mike Kronick  — with all their colleagues — will take excellent care of the arrangment.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

For years, visitors to Burying Hill — and boaters on the Sound — gazed at the sprawling compound just past the beach. It was owned by one of Westport’s most famous (and now Hollywood’s infamous) men: Harvey Weinstein.

You won’t be able to see it much longer. On Thursday, demolition began.

(Photo/Lisa Seidenberg)

And finally … happy 158th birthday to Claude Debussy!


Glamping: The Sequel

You know that big wedding last weekend on Beachside Avenue?

The one that featured white tents on Harvey Weinstein’s property, for glampers — “glamour campers” — to shelter on Friday and Saturday night, roughing it with only wooden floors and queen beds?

The one where fireworks lit up the sky after the ceremony, and a ton of security (uniformed cops, plainclothes and more) patrolled the area?

Turns out it was pretty, um, glamorous.

Zach Lasry — son of billionaire hedge fund owner/Milwaukee Bucks co-owner/Beachside Avenue resident Marc Lasry — married Arianna Lyons. They work together in film production.

Among the guests: former President Bill Clinton, and former Senator/Secretary of State/presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

President Bill Clinton at the Beachside Avenue wedding…

… and Hillary Clinton. (Photos courtesy of Instagram)

No word on whether they glamped, or decamped after the festivities to Chappaqua.

(Hat tip: WestportNow)

The Fall Of The House(s) Of Harvey Weinstein

Yesterday, Harvey Weinstein went down to Manhattan Criminal Court, and was arrested on sexual assault charges.

Soon, several of his former Westport homes will go down too.

Applications to demolish the properties at 26 and 28 Beachside Avenue — adjacent to Burying Hill Beach — have been filed with the town.

The 8,896-square foot home, and 2 other houses, were sold in February to Andrew Bentley, for $16 million. He already owns several other properties on Beachside.

In 2012, Weinstein’s main house was the site of a fundraiser for the re-election of President Obama. Among the guests joining the president at the $38,500-per-person event: Anne Hathaway, Aaron Sorkin, Anna Wintour, Joanne Woodward, Jerry Springer and Governor Malloy.

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.”

The presidential motorcade at Harvey Weinstein’s Beachside Avenue house, in 2012. (Photo/White House pool, courtesy of WestportNow)

JD And Harvey

The New York Times reports that in September Harvey Weinstein will release one of his film company’s “unlikeliest projects ever.”

“Salinger” — 9 years in the making — is a documentary about a very famous American writer.

JD Salinger

JD Salinger

But, the Times says, J.D. Salinger’s reclusiveness makes marketing the film difficult. Not only was the author — who died in 2010 — not involved in the film; neither was his son, nor the few members of a small circle of friends.

“Mr. Weinstein indicated that the secrets will be part of the fun as he and his company forge a strategy for selling ‘Salinger’ to the masses,” the Times reports.

So the “06880” question of the day is this: Does the film that Westporter Harvey Weinstein is releasing contain any information about Salinger’s 2 or 3 years in Westport?

He came here in 1949 or ’50 — details are sketchy. But according to the Times — and reported on “06880” the day he died — Salinger “holed up in a house on South Compo Road” in 1950 to write Catcher in the Rye.

Does Westport make it into “Salinger”? Because Salinger certainly made it to Westport.

Hail To The Chief: Obama Fundraiser Here August 6

The Westport News reports that President Obama will be in Westport August 6, for a fundraiser.

Harvey Weinstein will host the affair, at his Beachside Avenue estate.

Then the president is off to Stamford.

Tickets there are $500 each.

Here in Westport:  $35,800 a pop.

My birthday is not until March. Early gifts are always welcome.

Welcome to Westport

Harvey’s Oscar

Weston’s Christopher Plummer got some well-deserved honors at last night’s Oscars.

So did “The Artist.” It snagged 5 “bests”: picture, directing, costume design, original music score and actor.

Harvey Weinstein

None of it, though, might have happened without the backstage direction of one man: Westport’s Harvey Weinstein.

The longtime movie industry mover and shaker — and co-founder of Miramax Films — created a marketing plan for the silent, black-and-white French film that may have been, in CNN’s words, “a triumph of marketing over art.”

In a long piece today, CNN.com‘s Nick Thompson writes:

For many, the film’s triumph at the Oscars was a foregone conclusion, the result of a marketing process set in motion months ago by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who snapped up the U.S. distribution rights before anyone at the Cannes film festival had a chance to swoon over the French film last year.

“There wasn’t any doubt when it came to the top awards who the winners were going to be,” Total Film deputy editor Jamie Graham told CNN. “Harvey is the best in the business at getting that awards attention, and it became clear with ‘The Artist’ two months ago that this was the film that had caught the tailwind.”

The mercurial movie promoter and co-founder of Miramax Films, credited for discovering “Pulp Fiction” director Quentin Tarantino and a string of commercial and critical successes including “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love” and last year’s “The King’s Speech,” is famous for harnessing the momentum of his films at the right time and riding waves of publicity to wins at the podium and at the box office.

No sooner had Jean Dujardin taken the top actor award for his portrayal of silent film star George Valentin at Cannes than Weinstein had the film’s stars and directors hitting the award campaign circuit to capitalize on its surprise success….

Empire magazine’s Ian Nathan says that by the time the Golden Globe Award nominations came around, the race for Oscar glory had narrowed to a two-horse race between George Clooney’s “The Descendants” and “The Artist” — a race Weinstein’s relentless campaign strategy began to win by the end of last year.

“Something about what Harvey managed to do — getting these three very charming leads and the director out there, getting the dog out there, screening it to everyone who mattered, milking the nostalgia and old Hollywoodness of it — lifted it from the competitor to the favorite long before the show came around,” he told CNN.

“Once one film has a foothold — once it’s become the thing like ‘The King’s Speech’ did last year — then even Clooney can’t compete,” he said.

Weinstein’s strength, says Nathan, lies in his ability to catch a “middle-brow” film right before it becomes popular and turn it into the frontrunner.

Nathan told CNN: “He’s very good at picking the middle-brow films… and the Oscars are a mainstream event which celebrates the best of the middle. Harvey’s been a very wily player in that, and you have to give him that credit, he knows how to map that out over a year.”…

While the money may not follow, Nathan says one thing seems certain — after a relatively dry decade, the back-to-back successes of “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” means Harvey Weinstein is back in business.

“Harvey’s come out of his fallow years as the guy to beat at the Oscars,” he said. “It’s a bit of a second coming — clearly he’s still got a little bit of that magic.”


Harvey Weinstein is big (in more ways than one).

And Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Bette Davis, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe are just a few of the boldface names who at one point called Westport home.

But you can spot mega-mogul movie producers and Oscar-winning actors many places besides Westport.

One thing you can’t find anywhere but here is the Westport Youth Film Festival.

Organizers call it “the only youth film festival in the world run for high school students, by high school students.”

And while Hollywood is known for hyperbole, this is Westport.  We’ll take their word for it.

The 7th annual WYFF returns this weekend.  The schedule is remarkable — and what’s even more remarkable is how few Westporters know about it.

This Friday and Saturday (May 7-8), 65 high school student films — chosen from over 200 submissions, around the world — will be shown at Town Hall and Toquet Hall. Prizes will be awarded to 9 of them.

Friday night’s highlights include 8 movies from “Peace It Together,” a Canadian program involving Canadian, Palestinian and Israeli youth — plus Q-and-As.

On Saturday — in addition to the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. film screenings — there will be musical performances on Main Street, free popcorn and soda at Oscar’s, and t-shirt sales.  At 9 a.m. there’s a bagel breakfast with WYFF organizers and filmmakers.

The films range widely:  politics and current events; music; romance; comedy; self-discovery (hey, they’re teenagers).  At 5 p.m. Saturday Toquet hosts “The Roy Orbison Project,” spotlighting WYFF alumni including Jon Karmen and Jake Andrews of Rubydog fame.

I have no idea what the Roy Orbison Project is, but if it’s half as good as his voice, I’ll be impressed.

Tom Seligson, a Westport-based Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, keynotes Saturday’s 6 p.m. awards ceremony (Toquet).

WYFF is one of those Westport events you shouldn’t miss — though it also may be one you never heard of.

And even if the tagline — “the only youth film festival in the world run for high school students, by high school students” — is not true, this one may be:  “The only youth film festival in the world in a town without an actual movie theater.”

(For the WYFF YouTube trailer, click here.  For a detailed schedule of events, click here.)