A good name may be worth more than money -- Shakespeare called it the "immediate jewel" of the soul -- but these days, Jeff Levitt wouldn't bank on it.
Ever since the 42-year-old Jeffrey Alan Levitt of Baltimore tumbled from the presidency of Old Court Savings & Loan Association into a highly publicized scandal involving allegations of mismanagement and financial fraud, 29-year-old Dr. Jeffrey Mark Levitt of Bethesda has been very specific about his credentials.
"Let's get this right up front," grins the kinetic Levitt. "I have a checking account, a savings account and a money market account; one share of Pepco and 10 shares of CBS. I get 75 cents a month from Pepco.
"Other than that, I have no banking interests . . . and no relatives in Baltimore."
The name game has provided at least one close call for an innocent party.
"A close friend of mine is an executive at Chevy Chase Savings and Loan, where Jeffrey Levitt is like 'the enemy,' " said Dr. Levitt.
"I tried to phone him one day, and I said, 'Just tell him Jeff Levitt called.' He called back and said, 'Don't ever call me here -- and if you have to call me, don't leave a message!"
Fortunately, Dr. Levitt's bank accounts aren't at Chevy Chase, which has been assigned to manage Old Court, but at a "small, personal" bank where he and his father are well known.
"Still," he grins, "as far as people saying, 'Are you related to that guy?' . . . I'd just as soon it had been an astronaut."
Born in Philadelphia, Levitt grew up in the Silver Spring area while his father, Dr. Donald Graham Levitt, served as a division director at the Food and Drug Administration for several years. He completed a second residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York in the spring and returned to Bethesda after nearly a decade to join his father's obstetrics/gynecology practice.
So far, he said, he has had no misplaced legal papers served on him, "although I've been sort of expecting it."
Nor has his wife, magazine production stylist Pamela Zacha Levitt, been snagged as the "wife of." But on the other hand, they eloped only three months ago, and since most of her work is still in New York, her friends have little reason to wonder.
His father, though, said three patients in a single week asked him "in an offhand manner" if his son happened to be in the banking industry, and "probably a lot more wondered."
"I told them no, he's a little too busy for that," chuckled Donald Levitt.