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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 68, no. 1752: October 12, 1901

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)cf6tjer' I2,"i90i. RECORD AND GUIDE. 447 ■DrVoTEi) TO FlEAL CfnAn. ^\Tilu^t #^rrECTURE .HouseUoid DegorjudiI* BusitJEss aiJd Themes of GstIer^. IjftERfsT. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Pabtished eVerv Saturdag Communlcationa should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-liS Vesey Street, New YorK J. T. LINDSEY, Buaineaa ManaEs' Telephone, Cortlandt 1370 'Entered at the Post Office at New Tark, N. Y., as second-class matter.' Vol. LXVIII. OCTOBER 12, 1901. No. 1752. DURING all the recent decline in stock market Quotations tbe professional bear "policy bas been decidedly skippish, and it was the continued liquidation that forced prices down more than professional sales for the short account. It was not surpris¬ ing, then, that the shorts rushed to cover on a seemingly authen¬ tic report tbat the financing of tbe big railroad combinations made in the past year was about to be begun. The shorts' idea was tbat if^such were the facts tbe best financial opinion in the country had reached the conclusion tbat tbe time had arrived when tbis work, which must be done sooner or later, could be begun with certainty of securing a favorable public and an equally favorable money market. In carrying out the work it would be necessary, during the preliminaries at least, to throw strong support into the market, in which case any one short cTc stocks would suffer severely. Though the story was denied, the market remained strong until the close of the week, and the Street were still unwilling to receive this denial with confidence. The theoretical position taken was quite sound: K the great rail¬ road purchases, made to control territory, are to be put before the public in the shape of new issues of securities, it may un¬ doubtedly be taken as an expression of tbe best kind of opinion on the general situation and stock market quotations would advance, first on interested, and later on public buying; but, so far, the quotations themselves do not indicate tbe presence of any extraordinary stimulant to an advance, and the changes of the week may just as readily be attributed to one of these rallys that come at intervals in a declining market as a consequence of tech¬ nical conditions, as to the report mentioned, especially as the downward movement bad previously continued practically with¬ out interruption for. three weeks. HAR'RASS'E'D by present and threatened by further penal statutes, tbe property-owner, no matter what bis political predilections, must have read with a sense of satisfaction one sentence in tbe speech of acceptance of tbe Democratic nominee for Mayor, which was: "I have not made, nor shall I ever make, any promise that any law on the statute book shall not be en¬ forced. Nor will I, on tbe other hand, promise that, if I be elected, tbe Mayor will subordinate the great vital functions of his administration to a futile, corrupting, blackmailing effort to enforce every one of the vast number of misdemeanor statutes whicb, as I have said, turn into nominal crimes acts which in themselves are perfectly innocent." NOT unnaturally, German finan-cial circles are becoming an¬ noyed and alarmed by the attention that is heing given abroad to the dark side of their situation, while little or none is given to tbe other. They frankly admit tbat business is bad, and that a good many industrial concerns have been brought to tbe ground—not without scandal. But they say these are com¬ paratively few, while there are fifty-five hundred joinc stock companies in the Empire, tbe most of wbich, by their prudent policy of tbe boom years 1895-1900, are riding the storm safely. They urge, too, tbat nearly all the companies that have been brought to the ground through fraudulent practices were viewed for years with suspicion at home, and their failure therefore did not come as such a shock there as it did abroad. All this means that the decline in business in Germany is accompanied by only the same unwholesome disclosures that appear in similar move¬ ments elsewhere, and tbat inherent, basic conditions are as sound there as elsewhere. Tbis is true; but it does not alter the fact that times are hard for a good many concerns in Germany, amounting to an industrial depression, and foreigners have to take this fact into account as well as the proportions of the rascality divulged in forming opinions of tbe general situation and credit. Business throughout Europe continues to be de¬ pressed, but tbe facts regarding Germany have more prominence because of tbe continued exposure of rottenness in ber banking circles. Contracting trade and industry are still evidenced by tbe decreasing volume of foreign trade in every country publish-' ing returns, and by the failure of national income to meet expen¬ ditures, which one head of tbe Treasury announces after another. Still, the conditions in the financial market are a little better than they'were a week ago. Money ia not so tight and govern¬ ment bonds higher, which, though all tbat can be said at present is better than having to say there is no spark of encouragement anywhere. The Latest Swindle. ~P" HE ingenuity of Man is always an interesting study, but ^ often it possesses a peculiar piquancy when manifested in an attempt to make a iiving entirely at the expense of "the other fellow." Every trade and profession can furnish its examples of tricks and devices originated by swindlers, usually along the line of some perversion of legitimate conditions and practices. Were some enquiring mind to compile for us a list of swindles and malpractices, grouping them in classes or types, with the necessary historical dissertation, we should surely have an amusing, if not a valuable, volume. The author of sucb a work would discover not a little material' for bis purpose within the limits of tbe real estate and building trades. Indeed, some of his most valuable "finds" would be made in those fields, for apparently tbe ground here is very fruitful, and the looseness and multiplicity of transactions in these industries offer special inducements for indirect and shady methods of gaining a livelihood. Everyone who .has had any experience within these trades is acquainted with the commoner "lay-outs" that have been devised from time to time by the genius of rascality to trap tbe incautious and the ignorant; and everyone, too, is more or less on the lookout for new modifica¬ tions of the old games, which, like the tricks of beggars, are undergoing constant development. The cork-leg, the sightless eye, tbe distortions of paralysis—all these "make-ups" of the in¬ digents' trade are effective in proportion to tbeir novelty. In like manner with trade swindles, there is a perpetual need for something new, and as at times, by force of inspiration or happy chance, new swindles, particularly deceptive and efficient, are concocted, it is not always possible even for the wary to avoid being caught. The latest "lay-out" worked in the buiiding trades is of a particularly subtle and offensive character. It pertains at present to tbe work of plastering only, but as the game can be quite as effective in other departments of construction, we may watch witb certainty for its extension. A, let us say, is a builder on his own account about to commence the construction of a tenement or an apartment house. He is approached by B, a plasterer, who desires tbe contract in his own line of trade. As though to obtain tbis.B makes certain representations regarding his capability and responsibility, and quotes prices to whicb A listens, resulting' for tbe time being in a negative or an indefinite result. There¬ after A sees no more of B until he, A, has given out bis written contract for the plastering of his buildings to D. Then B reap¬ pears, protesting that he holds a "verbal" contract from A for the work. Perhaps, as in one case we know of, B, to strengthen bis position and give it a greater air of plausibility, enters A's buildings on Saturday afternoon, or at some other "off" time, when workmen are not on the premises, and then rapidly plasters the side of a wall or a few square yards of ceiling. In support of his bogus claim, B promptly places a lien on the job for the full amount of tbe alleged "verbal" contract. Of course, if A is a man possessed of large capital, and happily quite indifferent as to the effect of this act upon his commercial credit with other contractors, and is at the same time independent of building loans, he can by slow process of law worry out of his predicament. But if he is not so easily circumstanced—^and how very few are?—he is seriously threatened witb disaster. His creditors become alarmed. In the contention between himself and tbe fraudulent plasterer B, even A's friends are liable to be confused. But even with this, his specific trouble is not over; for, as soon as D, the bona fide contractor, puts bis men to work on A's building, B steps in, demands a place for his workmen, resulting in the dispute being carried to tbe union by tbe walking dele¬ gate. Now, tbe union is not a court of law. It cannot decide the issue; and what, in the name of justice, can 'be done but leave tbe warring contractors to fight it out, making tbe job in the meantime one of "days' l-abor!"—so the union judicially determines. Tbe delegate, of course, is installed as foreman, and after tbat life goes easily and even merrily with those plasterers. Opposition to this on the part of A is useless, unless A is pre¬ pared for a strike; and that, of course, would mean delay and still further loss of credit and cash. A can do nothing but accept