who knows; first I’d heard of that!
Sunday column ping. This is the Christmas/New Year’s thread which will run till next Sunday or so.
Sunshine Staters curse shady Bernard Madoff
That $#@*%$ son of Palm Beach
By Howie Carr | Sunday, December 28, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com
PALM BEACH, Fla. - This has always been a sunny place for shady people, from Kennedys on the prowl to Roxanne Pulitzer on the make to Cadillac Frank Salemme on the lam.
But all the earlier Palm Beach Babylon books are suddenly obsolete, because they dont include a chapter on the shadiest Palm Beacher of them all - Bernie Madoff, the creator of the worlds second greatest Ponzi scheme (after Social Security).
Less than three weeks ago, 70-year-old Bernie was the toast of the town. Then the roof caved in on him and his clients - all of whom have turned out to be marks. No wonder he could guarantee returns of at least 10 percent a year through good markets and bad. He wasnt investing the money, he was just grabbing it as it came in and giving it to the earlier investors.
Final tab on the scam, by Bernies own accounting: $50 billion, thats billion with a B.
Madoffs victims are scattered across the globe, but Palm Beach may have been the place he hit hardest of all. And now, every gold-digger and gigolo who didnt get burned is lapping up this disaster with a spoon. Schadenfreude, anyone? Every day, new stories are breathlessly told about Madoffs victims, some so perfect that you have to wonder if theyre urban myths.
Just Friday, word swept the island that one of Madoffs collectors, a Bostonian named Bob Jaffe, had sent all of his fancy suits down to a consignment shop on Sunset Avenue to be sold for petty cash.
Then theres the one about a suddenly penniless yachtsman who supposedly sold his multimillion-dollar boat at a pawnshop - a pawnshop? - on the Dixie Highway, and when the bust-out was offered 100 large for the deluxe vessel, began weeping with gratitude.
I also heard about an elderly retiree who, on Dec. 8, supposedly closed on a $10 million deal to sell his business. He immediately signed over the check to Madoff, 72 hours before Bernie was lugged in on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Three weeks ago, people who invested with Madoff had bragging rights. Madoff had been coming here since the 1960s. He bought his place on North Lake Way in 1967 for $67,000, and its now assessed at $9.3 million (hes got it in his wife Ruths name). It was a status symbol to be with Bernie. Bob Jaffe made the introductions, and heres some irony - Jaffe started out in Boston as a stockbroker back in the 1970s handling investments for the Angiulos.
Say what you will about Gerry Angiulo and the boys. If they owed you, they paid you off, sooner or later. Most of Madoffs chumps will be lucky to recover a penny on the dollar.
The only boasting now is being done by people who saw through Bernie, or at least now claim they did.
Heres how panicked everybody is down here. One of the Bostonians who got taken is Bob Lappin - Robert I. Lappin. His foundation in Salem lost $8 million and had to shut down. Well, theres another Bob Lappin here - W. Robert Lappin - and he runs the Palm Beach Pops orchestra.
As soon as word of Bob Lappins loss hit the papers, people began calling the Pops office, asking if the orchestra was permanently out of business. This week the other Bob Lappin finally had to issue a statement that while he had only the greatest sympathy for Robert I. Lappin, neither he (W. Robert) nor the orchestra had been ripped off.
The weekend after the Ponzi scheme crashed, the Wall Street Journal reported that four condos had already been put up for sale at Two Breakers Row, next to The Breakers Hotel. One of the oceanfront units even moved that first weekend, reportedly at a fire-sale price - $8.6 million.
Thats poverty in Palm Beach.
Destitution, where is thy sting?
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1141579