List Brings Home Impact of Madoff Scandal
Friday, February 6, 2009
Nearly 250 Washington area names, including some of the region's most prominent and wealthiest business people, are on a new list of customers of the New York investment firm operated by Bernard L. Madoff, who is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
The big names locally include many involved in real estate development, such as entities connected to the Gewirz, Abramson and Smith families; Edward H. Kaplan; Allan R. Hurwitz; and Albert H. Small. Other local names include Marion Rosenthal, whose family owns major car dealerships in the area; Esthy Adler, a big arts donor; Harvard scientist William A. Haseltine, founder of Human Genome Sciences in Rockville; and Roger Sant of AES Corp., a Virginia-based power company.
No dollar amounts of losses appear on the list, which became public Wednesday. Madoff allegedly ran a scheme that cost friends and investors their personal fortunes and wiped out the money of charitable foundations. He is under house arrest.
The 162-page list was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Other prominent names on the list include Larry Silverstein, a New York developer who is helping to rebuild the World Trade Center; Fred Wilpon, owner of the New York Mets; baseball great Sandy Koufax; Larry King, the talk show host; Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); and actor John Malkovich.
And it also includes some of those closest to Madoff, such as his attorney, Ira Sorkin; Madoff's former longtime lobbyist, Norman Lent; and Madoff's sons, Mark and Andrew.
The list is made up of people who, from Madoff's records, appeared to have been customers or who identified themselves as customers by calling or e-mailing either the trustee involved in the case or the nonprofit Securities Investor Protection Corp.
AlixPartners LLP of Dallas compiled the list on behalf of Irving H. Picard, who is a lawyer and a trustee in the case, according to the court filings. Some people on the list may not be customers; for instance, Sorkin said he has never been a customer.
Much of the Madoff case has centered on investors in New York and Florida, but the list shows his wide-ranging reach, including investors in Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Georgia and Kansas. There were 3,451 names tied to New York addresses and 1,725 tied to Florida.
In the Washington region, there were 247 names of individuals, estates, businesses, partnerships, foundations and nonprofit organizations. Of those, 138 were in Maryland; 63 were in Virginia; and 46 were in the District. Some of those include the same people under different legal names, such as family trusts or business partnerships.
William Woessner, who is retired from the State Department's Foreign Service, said his ties with Madoff go back 17 years to when he was introduced to the investment firm through the father of a college friend of his daughter. Woessner, 77, of Great Falls, said he took $103,000 he had inherited from his Aunt Hazel and invested it, upon invitation, with Madoff. "You were made to feel that it was a big favor to be let in if you didn't have a lot of money," he said. "It was an exclusive club to belong to." He said friends marveled at his returns, which ranged from 8 percent to more than 12 percent.
"The thing that was so attractive about Madoff was that you got a steady income," he said. Woessner said he used some of the money he made to take some of his 10 grandchildren on trips.