Green Power! Environmentalist Scores Co-op from Ex-Bear Stearns Derivatives Ace

In a particular vision of a perfect New York City, all Wall Street types who once worked with supremely murky financial instruments would have to sell their prewar uptown co-ops, and at steep discounts, to longtime environmentalists.

That’s what happened this month, city records show, when Alex Reyfman, former head of credit derivatives research for Bear Stearns, sold his co-op at 245 West 107th Street to William H. Ulfelder, who became the Nature Conservancy in New York’s director earlier this year. The price was $1,555,000.

The building was happy to have him. “That right now is a breath of fresh air. Depending on the board you’re dealing with, they’re skeptical of bankers,” listing broker Lori Huler Glick offered. “An environmentalist is a recession-proof job.” Her listing says the apartment has three bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen, a walk-in pantry, a 54-bottle wine refrigerator, a library, a 26.5-foot-long living room and white oak plank floors.

It came on the market last October for $2,095,000, but the tag was cut four times before the sale. “We initially had an offer higher than this sales price—almost right off the bat,” Ms. Glick said. “Things just went south so quickly.”

It came on the market last October for $2,095,000, but the tag was cut four times before the sale.

According to a Conservancy press release, Mr. Ulfelder went to the University of North Carolina on a scholarship, was awarded a Fulbright grant to work and study with the Panamanian park service, and has worked for the Conservancy from Colorado to Peru, where he helped negotiate a multimillion-dollar debt-for-nature swap—the U.S. forgave Peruvian debut in exchange for its commitment to rain forest conservation.

Meanwhile, Mr. Reyfman left Goldman Sachs to become a managing director at Bear. He departed before its collapse for the multibillion-dollar AQR Capital, led by the hedge fund manager who wrote that famous anti-Obama Chrysler bankruptcy letter. He no longer works there, and did not return a message left with his wife.

Ms. Glick said the couple ended up getting a bigger apartment: “They’re pretty happy.” As it happens, the broker said her own husband used to work for Bear Stearns, too: “He was in a hedge fund doing mortgage-backed securities,” she said, “so he’s not in a good spot.”

Meanwhile, Blythe Masters, whom The Guardian has called a “destroyer of worlds” because of her role in inventing synthetic credit derivatives while at JPMorgan, hasn’t found a buyer for her Reade Street townhouse, a six-bedroom place with geothermal heating. It’s been nearly half a year since her tag was lowered from $14 million to $11.9 million, though on the bright side she bought it for only $4.65 million.

mabelson@observer.com