OK, class war fans, today we’re going to look at
’s top bracket, our millionaire property owners. And at what they have in mind for the rest of us. Charlestown
I drew the inspiration for this piece from the clueless performance of our Town Council President
Tom Gentz (also Secretary of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance) when he tried to read the script attacking the state’s affordable housing law during the November 3 Planning Commission workshop. That script was clearly provided to him by Planning Commissar Ruth Platner. Watch the Clerkbase video if you don’t believe me.
There are roughly 900 potential dwellings that are currently assessed below $216,273, the magic number the Platner-Gentz Affordable Housing Deconstruction Act would deem to be “affordable.” One in three of those properties are owned by people who don’t live in them. Many are seasonal houses. 230 of them are condos. 131 of them are mobile homes.
The Gentz-Platner plan does nothing, absolutely nothing, for the people who live these 900 properties. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zip. It also does absolutely nothing for the vast majority of other
It still means that grown children of
families still won’t be able to find places in town to start a family. It still means almost no affordable year-round rentals anywhere in town. It still means that town employees and volunteer firefighters can’t afford to live in town. It still means that elderly folks who need to down-size won’t find affordable places to do that in Charlestown . Charlestown
|Very affordable - if you can afford $6 million - C-Town's most expensive|
property at 21 Dowd Drive (photo from tax assessor database)
There are 279
residences assessed at $1 million or more. 80% of those properties are owned by non-residents. They like having their expensive homes and were very angry when last summer’s town reassessment figures came out and dropped the assessment value on many of those properties. Charlestown
They complained bitterly on the CCA website and e-mail bleat about how unfair it was that their assessments were cut. Keeping the riff-raff out of
works for them – the fewer reminders of the real world of working people there are South of One, the more likely their properties will appreciate. Charlestown
Not that their numbers are so bad.
For example, the #1 property in
Charlestown is a lovely mansion assessed at $6,018,000 at 21 Dowd Drive, owned by Joseph & Barbara Walsh of This 7,200 square foot estate sits on just under three acres of prime coastline. With seven bedrooms and seven baths, it’s a lovely getaway for one of the top members of Greenwich, CT. ’s 1%. Charlestown
We have 3 properties assessed within the $4 million range – two owned by people from
Tennessee and one by a person. Connecticut
We have 15 properties within the $3 million range,. All are owned by non-residents: ten from
Connecticut, two from Massachusetts, one from New York, one who claims Florida residence and one from elsewhere in . Rhode Island
There are 48
properties in the $2 million range. Non-residents own 81% of them. They come from Charlestown Connecticut (13), New York (8), elsewhere in Rhode Island (7), Massachusetts (5), Texas (2), as well as Tennessee, California, Florida and (1 each). Arizona
And finally, there are 212 homes in the $1 million range. Of these 164 (77%) are owned by non-residents. These non-residents are dominated, like the other categories, by owners from
Connecticut (77), followed by Massachusetts (23), New York (15), Florida residents (7) and with 4. An even dozen non-resident Rhode Islanders own $1+ million New Jersey houses. Charlestown
Rounding out the roll-call of the states, we have a millionaire homeowner from
North Carolina, Maryland, Kentucky, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana and . Arizona
Among this roster of
’s elite are members of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance’s twelve disciples, the CCA Steering Committee. Three are outright members of the 1%: CCA President and Vice-President Bernice and Dr. Milton Krantz are members with a home assessed at $1,121,600. Charlestown
CCA Treasurer Leo Mainelli is a 1% member with a home assessed at $1,301,500.
One of the founders of CCA as well as the RI Statewide Coalition, where he served on the board, is Tom DePatie. DePatie still serves on the CC Steering Committee and is an advocate of voting rights for non-residents. Like a lot of his neighbors. His home is assessed at $1,245,800.
Tom Gentz himself. A retired health insurance executive, Gentz is not an outright member of 1% club, even though he only lives a couple of streets over from the $6 million home owned by the Greenwich CT Walshes. His residence is not assessed at $1 million or more.
|Tom Gentz's lovingly restored 1966 Porsche V-12 911, |
one of two Porsches he currently owns.
Charlestown Car Tax: zero!
However, he owns two adjacent houses in that prime neighborhood. Actually, they’re both in his wife’s name. The main residence, the one with the solar panels, is assessed at $660,900. The other is assessed at $578,300 for a total of $1,239,200.
So when Tom Gentz talks about affordable housing and how much he understands and cares, remember this number: $1,239,200. When he talks about how he wants to simplify the state affordable housing law so more unemployed construction workers can get back to work, remember this number: $1,239,200. And the two Porsches.
Remember that all of the CCA officers and a third of their board are members of Charlestown's 1%. Then ask yourself whose interests they represent.