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Ear to the Ground

The Other Bernie Madoff Affair

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Posted on Aug 14, 2009
Madoff pleads guilty
AP / Louis Lanzano

Marked man: Madoff arrives at the courthouse in Manhattan on March 12, 2009.

Bernard Madoff’s connection with the New York-based Jewish charity Hadassah has become fraught above and beyond the economic level since the organization’s CFO, Sheryl Weinstein, claimed that she and the fallen financier had an affair, which she details in her upcoming memoir, “Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me.” —KA

The New York Times:

Hadassah’s national president, Nancy Falchuk, told Hadassah’s national board in a letter on Thursday that the group was “shocked to hear the news reports of Mrs. Weinstein’s personal admission regarding this relationship. Indeed, we knew nothing of her relationship with Mr. Madoff until today.”

Ruth Madoff, who has been married to Mr. Madoff for almost 50 years, knew nothing about the “alleged affair,” said Peter Chavkin, her lawyer. While that, unfortunately, will not ease the pain of the people destroyed by the Madoff fraud, he continued, the allegation “stands as a powerful reminder, to those who say Ruth must have known of her husband’s criminal scheme, that there are some things that some spouses — however close they are — do not share with each other.”

Ira Lee Sorkin, a lawyer for Mr. Madoff, declined to comment.

According to John Murphy, the publisher’s spokesman, Ms. Weinstein’s relationship with Mr. Madoff “spanned 20 years.” That would take it back to 1988, when Hadassah received a gift of about $7 million from a French donor, whom the organization has declined to name.

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By Sepharad, August 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

Jay Gould would probably feel right at home today.

If that lawyer writes his book, it will be worth waiting for.

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By Folktruther, August 19, 2009 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Yes, Sepharad, he gave back ten % a year but he must of put the rest somewhere.  Scheer is uncovering other frauds so maybe part of the reluctance to dig into this one may just be the princple of the thing.  But a financial analayst who exposed him,unscuessfully, before the SEC knows a lot about this case, and may be writing a book or something.

The TITAN was based partially on Gould, the most corrupt of the Robber Barons.

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By Sepharad, August 17, 2009 at 10:21 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, thanks for reminding me of The Titan. I’m a big fan of Dreiser and read his trilogy that includes The Titan—but that was in college when I was just beginning to understand the world (slightly retarded by parents and grandparents who were all complete idealists and believed the best of nearly everyone with the exception of fascists). Maybe I should reread it.

You’re right: in in some ways professionalism carried to the nth degree requires eliminating emotionalism in one’s judgments and actions. Like a shark that swims, kills, eats in order to keep swimming, killing, eating. Very good at what it does and no emotion. I do remember that by the time he’d achieved titanhood, Dreiser’s protagonist had degenerated into a successful businessman with sawdust where his feelings used to be and a doll’s eye for a window into his soul. Had read other Dreiser works before and found them profoundly human, and wondered where he’d found a template for such a a monster. (Eugene Witla, the guy who morphed from artist into genius, was more careless than cruel. And you can understand the young murderer in American Tragedy because his calculations were mixed with strong feelings.)  Guess I hadn’t yet encountered a true professional.

Didn’t Madoff send payments to people who invested with him until he ran out and kept collecting investors’ money without sending them payments? Isn’t that the basic nature of a Ponzi scheme? If that’s right—and it’s just my understanding of it which might be wrong—then the earlier investors probably got their money back, but not the later ones.

However it worked, he knew at some point that it was no longer working and kept doing it anyway, knowing he was stealing peoples’ lives, not just their money. If this is indeed institutionalized, as you suggest and I now see as a possibility, then we are all in a world of trouble.

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By Folktruther, August 17, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

The thing is, Sepharad, it is not known exactly WHO he betrayed and who he privately made restitution to, if anyone.  There is a novel by Driser called THE TITAN that discribes a financier and his intrigues which gives an insight into the professional lives of these people.  The sociopathy is instutitionalized, and most pronounced in the most successful.  One person’s moral depravity is another person’s professionalism.

It would be useful to know the form it takes at the present time, when the US power system is incresingly barbaric, violent and obsolete.

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By Sepharad, August 16, 2009 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

I dunno, Folktruther. I don’t see how Madoff could have betrayed so many people and institutions he knew so completely and catastrophically wihtout being a criminal sociopath. There are criminals and there are sociopaths who, whether they become criminals or not, lack the empathy/right and wrong genes that connect most of us with our fellow humans. It’s not a matter of convention or hypocrisy.

But your main question is still the right one: where the money was invested when he wasn’t buying stocks with it.

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By Jonas, August 15, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Enough of this criminal Madoff !
Spare us any additional BS-story related to this evil
person,for heaven sake.Just send him behind bars and
keep him there..never to allow him to flee to Israel !

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By coloradokarl, August 15, 2009 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Madoff sure fucked a lot of people. A real equal opportunity fucker, if you ask me…......

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By Folktruther, August 15, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

foosh, Sepharad.  Madoff is no more psychopathic than you are.  He had a twenty year affair with a woman that breeched the usual hypocracies about American marriage.  It indicates his stability rather than the reverse.  And he was an admired and respected businessman, and probably still is in Wall Street.

The problems are institutional, not personal.  Which is why they are being covered up.  kthere is no problem about revealing illicit love relations, merely illicit power relations.

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By reza santorini, August 15, 2009 at 3:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Madoff was sleeze and his having an affair or two should not be a shock to anyone.  If Ruth knew Ruth had to live with this and choose the bed she laid in.

Something tells me the Mrs. Weinstein is still wanting to capitalize on this affair and reflective of her level of life style…one similar to that of Bernie.  This does not tell us one thing about Hadassah the good it does, any Madoff victim or Ruth.  It does tell us about Sheryl Weinstein who seems to have learned well from the sleezebag Madoff.  Neither of whom have the slightest idea of love of anything but money.

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By Sepharad, August 15, 2009 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, good question.

to cohenkin from another cohenkin; mother’s maiden name was cohen-levy so I guess we are very distant cousins. Re Mrs. Madoff, my guess would be she’s mad enough to spit nails. Knowing what he was doing financially and how it might affect his family as well as others in the long run, if Madoff was not a sociopath—which I think he must have been—he would have come clean to his wife about his Hadassah sweetie and let her take what she could out of his spoils in some divorce settlement. Obviously he didn’t care what would happen to his wife and sons.

Speaking of Hadassah, they did make lots of money by way of Bernie, more than he took from them, so conceivably some of the ricos who were swindled by Bernie could sue Hadassah. But Hadassah is a charity that—among other things—builds hospitals and subsidizes travel for doctors and dentists who provide free medical care to Israelis (including Israel’s poor people, Arab, Jews, Chinese, Armenians, people of the West Bank, whoever. So it seems a little sick for rich prople who lost their reputations, extra houses etc. to be able to replace some of their vanished luxuries by pulling the rug out under people whose health needs are met by Hadassah’s large range of institutions and services. Almost as sick as Madoff himself.

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By cohenkin, August 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

How do you think Mrs. Madoff feels? She could have divorced him years ago, gotten a huge settlement and none of it could have been touched by the government unless they could prove she was in on his wrong doing.

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By Folktruther, August 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

This is the second sexual relaationship.  The chief investigator of the SEC under Cox was having a relationship with Madoff’s niece and later married her.  This is largely a diversion of the central question in the whole affair that Wall Street, the media, and the government obviously do not want to ask:

  WHERE WAS THE MONEY INVESTED WHEN MADOFF WASN’T BUYING STOCKS WITH IT?

The US power system is so corrupt that the question is not even asked, let alone answered.  Dope has been suggested, and gun running in conjunction with Israel.  But no hard evidence.  And inquiring minds want to know.  It will probably reveal some of the machinations that occur routinely on Wall Street.

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skulz fontaine's avatar

By skulz fontaine, August 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

What? The Bernie was doing the wild thang with Ms. Sheryl? Oh that just so figures. Hmmm, do you think the Mrs. Bernie am gonna want a divorce now?

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