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WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

Madoff's Palm Beach home

Madoff's Palm Beach home

Bernie Madoff was tucked into his jail cell bed the other night for what could be his home for the next 150 years. For a guy who once “had it all” this comedown must be pretty harsh to say the least. Bet that was no Posturepedic mattress that waited to embrace his cheating bones or someone willing to turn down those 800 thread sheets he was so accustomed to.  Oh well!

Bernie had it all. But “all” just wasn’t enough. I often wonder what a 7 million dollar penthouse gets you other than a panoramic view of NYC and beyond. I mean, how important does this make you feel just knowing that from that height you are able to look down on all those peons scurrying hither and yon trying to be just like you?

I read an article in Vanity Fair about Bernie. He owns 4 or 5 different mansions scattered around the globe. But just how much time does one expect to stay in one of those palaces of luxury when there are so many to choose from? Most of us would love having a second home as a getaway now and then but Bernie couldn’t seem to satisfy that wish. No, he had to have a handful of  mansions to reinforce the image of a very important personage, an honor bestowed on like minded Greedy Guts who try to outdo one another in their quest for “things”. Bernie just happened to lead the pack.

It is said that he was aloof, willing and able to dismiss your company without preamble when he got bored. This rather rude behavior in less affluent circles would have allowed him to be labeled as a belligerent s.o.b., but in Bernie’s cadre this attitude was held in awe. If Bernie dismissed you then Bernie was qualified to do as he liked. Just look at the money he was making! Apparently his rudeness could be overlooked as just another signal of Bernie being Bernie.

But wait.  Bernie was not earning his place, he was plundering his clients. Raking it in hand over fist! Living life to the max on your dime!

How many homes does a person need? How much jewelry, clothes, furnishings, vacations, cars, planes, bank accounts, does a person need to make them feel alive?  In Bernie’s case there was no end to his needs. And so what if those clients paid for it all out of pocket?  What if they have nothing to show for their trust?   Bernie lived the high life and he felt entitled.    That is all that needs to be said.

Bernie may take title to being the “biggest cheat” of all but there are many more like him waiting to take his place.   Nothing is ever enough for those who wish to fill the hole that lies deeply within their psyche.   Wants and needs take center stage above all else.

When is enough enough?   Only Bernie and those like him can answer that.   He has 150 years to arrive at a conclusion.   But is that lifetime sentence enough of an “enough” for those lives he shattered and left behind?   One can only ask.  Perhaps like Bernie, enough is just never enough.

Madoff's new home

Madoff's new home

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98 Responses

  1. I’m with you Pat. I’m not into greed. I just want to have a roof over my head, enough to eat, some clothes on my back, and maybe an used car to get me around. Bernie is bad, but think of all the people who knew about him and let him keep getting away with it. It’s sickening.

  2. I have a draft post that is related to this story about where the money went. I’ll try to finish it and post it later today.

    • That sounds really interesting!

    • An angle of this story which I haven’t seen explored is what about taxes paid on the non-existent profits by his clients? Since this was a Ponzi scheme, there would have been money given to clients, who would owe taxes. But these taxes are not really owed if there is no profit.

      Does the IRS now owe Madoff’s clients a huge amount of money for tax refunds and interest?

  3. I think 150 years isn’t enough. He’s not going to live that long, so I want a punishment for which he can fulfill all of the requirements. Let’s start with selling ALL of his assets and distributing the proceeds to his clients. (And no faking his death like Ken Lay.)

    • I want the plea deal revoked. I want every Madoff family member, every associate who was complicit, living under the jail – preferably one like Louisiana’s Angola. That would be ‘enough’ for some of us. But it’s too much to ask of the powerati, isn’t it?

    • If he is truly a sociopath, as has been suggested, he is emotionally removed from the whole situation. He has a complete inability to empathize, and everything is about what he thinks, what makes him feel good, what he wants. Even wives and children tend to be mere trappings to people like him.
      The only way to make this guy really suffer is to ‘remove his seed from the earth’, and since that is illegal, the next best thing would be to have him see his entire family behind bars, stripped of every single possession they have enjoyed (given back to the rightful owners, his investors), and to have to spend so many years in jail that when they are released, if ever, they will be nothing more than homeless street people (and my sincerest apoligies to street people everywhere).

      • Wasn’t his son the person who turned him in? I thought that Madoff had confessed to his son & he immediately contacted authorities? If this is the case, then I don’t think the son should pay for the sins of the father, kwim? Maybe I’m wrong, I haven’t been following the case closely, since I’m not dumb enough to invest my entire life savings with a single individual or entity.

        • Lisa in VA: There is strong suspicion that his ‘confessing’ to his sons, and their turning him in, was nothing more than a ploy on their part to try to make them seem innocent of the scheme.
          Madoff thinks so little of us ‘average’ people that he cannot comprehend that we would see through this thinly veiled attempt to keep his sons out of jail.
          The investigators have said that the sheer size of this ponzi scheme couldn’t have been managed by one person, and just as his wife has tried to say that the 70 or so million she has was an inheritance from a relative (later proved to be $36,000??). I believe they feel that, since the money has been in their account for so long, that they now own that money. Stolen money will forever remain that, until returned to the victims.

          • Sorry for the dropped sentence above:
            , and just as his wife has tried to say that the 70 or so million she has was an inheritance from a relative (later proved to be $36,000!!), she cannot prove that she actually earned a dime of that money.

    • Don’t get too excited about Bernie serving life. There is a lot of obfuscating about plea deals and sentencing. Heard a blip on one of the cable channels that he will not serve life or anything close to it. Couldn’t believe my ears-had to rewind my DVR twice just to make sure I heard it right.

      • We think, in this country, that we are far too sophisticated to ever involve outselves in a homegrown revolution, but how can one ignore the nationwide outrage and anger that is growing? Do people truly think that revolutions explode full born onto the scene? This is exactly how they start…with public outrage that is not addressed, and if Madoff is given anything less than life,I think you’ll see rage in the streets. People can take only so much before they react.

  4. there are many more like him waiting to take his place. Nothing is ever enough for those who wish to fill the hole that lies deeply within their psyche.

    Yup. And one of those people is now our president.

  5. Excellent post Pat. How often do we hear the average home owner should have known the sub prime loans were fraudulent?? Well this guy fooled the biggest organizations out there, with whole dept to look at stuff….but the little guy should have known?

    Also as you know when one has dough, you are ” eccentric” …but when you don’t have moola , you’re just nuts .

  6. Didn’t one of the people Madoff cheated commit suicide?

    On a greed-related note, AIG is handing out $165 million in bonuses to their executives, even though the company has lost billions of dollars recently and has taken billions in tax payer money. They say they are contractually obligated to do hand out bonuses. One wonders about contracts that demand millions in bonuses for executives even though their company loses billions.

    • IIRC, two people committed suicide because of Madoff induced losses.

      • One of them was a French Aristocrat. A man of honor who could not face the fact that he had been fooled by Madoff and invested a lot of his own client monies with Madoff.

        I cannot wait for the day when his wife, brother and sons will also be incarcerated. If they do not, I bet you the first chance they get, they’ll get out of the country and in 10 years will be living large in a beach paradise somewhere with the money they stached away abroad.

  7. DYB, on March 15th, 2009 at 1:42 pm Said:
    …..They say they are contractually obligated to do hand out bonuses

    But somehow pensions that are contractual will be torn up….if we called pensions bonuses, we would have a better chance of collecting them.

  8. This is great Pat. I’m deeply interested in the role of greed in the decisions that are being made about the economy.

    Thanks for putting this piece together.

    (I used the buttons I added to the bottom to share your post with my Facebook friends)

    • Yeah, I like having those linking buttons at the bottom of a post – now all my Facebook friends are learning about how good TC is.

  9. I’m glad to read you, Pat.

    Remember when we were talking about Narcissism and then Malignant Narcissism? Well, this sort of greed is the latter — in other words there is a complete failure of empathy. Complete.

    Other people simply really didn’t matter. That is why you don’t see remorse. Period.

    His banker friend who commited suicide as this news was breaking?
    He had empathy — he couldn’t live with himself? That is the difference between one sort of narcissism and the other.

    Incredibly sad. All those poor people — all those poor people he bankrupted.

    This is why we need to be on alert right now — for evidence of more of this sort of thing coming from the new admin.

    • “all those poor people he bankrupted.”

      Well, some of them may be relatively poor now, but the only people allowed to “invest” in the Madoff scheme were very wealthy to start with.

      I’m very low on sympathy for someone who starts out with $10 million and ends up with a paltry $3 million because of greedy and ill-informed “investment” in a pyramid scheme.

      Maybe I’m callous, but I can’t be bothered feeling sorry for those chumps.

      • I agree FL surfer – but the rat also bankrupted a number of foundations that did a great deal of good for those who were genuinely needy.

      • I know of a couple who are friends of my parents. He worked in the textile business for 50 years, and had built up personal savings of $3 million. It’s all gone. All of it. They had to sell their house, and are moving to CA to live with their daughter. These are good people who worked hard all their lives and listened to their friends who recommended Madoff. Not everyone who was swindled “had it coming.” I read another piece about a nurse who had pinched pennies to save for decades, and she is now working two jobs because her entire retirement was wiped out by Madoff.

        Meanwhile, he “tunneled” off how many assets that will benefit his family? Tragic.

      • Many of the non-profits who invested with Madoff also invested their employees retirement savings with Madoff. So it isn’t only millionaires who have lost their investments with him.

        One columnist over at Marketwatch reported that his wife lost both her job at a non-profit, and her retirement savings.

      • You are callous.

      • I don’t think you’re callous. I’m sorry these people got taken, but I’ve heard so much indifference/recrimination toward people caught in the subprime mess, and I can’t understand what the difference is there–except you’d expect megarich people to know more about high return/high risk.

        • I mean I’ve heard it out in the world and in the media, not talking about here

        • There is a difference between anyone, rich or poor, being swindled, whether in a stock deal or a bad faith mortgage, and those who lie to get a loan for the house or stock they cannot afford. No sympathy for liars and cheats, rich or poor. Justice for those cheated, rich or poor.

  10. Your writing is excellent in posts Pat! It was good in comments but is even better on the front page. I can’t believe it’s only the second you’ve written. I’m sure you’re going to be a natural like RD.

    • Laurie, thanks but I am well aware of my limitations. I could never measure up to those who have and do contribute to this blog. Believe me.

    • I AGREE!!!!!!!!

      Pat is the awesomest.

  11. Madoff does not have everything. He does not have a conscience.

  12. Of course, Bernie Madoff may have to sleep on a hard mattress for the rest of his life, but his family gets to keep his multiple mansions and other ill-gotten gains. So one could say that Madoff’s greed wasn’t entirely self-centered. He has secured for his children, and his children’s children, and his children’s children’s children, etc., a purchase in the oligarchy. And as they say, membership has its rewards. From a “Selfish Gene” point of view one might call his actions downright noble.

    But then again, I don’t happen to subscribe to that point of view, and I’m glad you don’t either.

    • I think that should be made illegal. All his mansions and assets should be sold and the money be given to his victims.

      • Agree. If they can impound and sell drug dealers cars, etc, why not not Madoff’s?

      • I completely agree. The same goes for Ken Lay’s assets, etc., etc. But I’m not holding my breath with expectation.

  13. I have nothing against wealth if it is earned through hard work and integrity. It is the arrogance that drives me crazy! Hell, if I had the money I would flaunt it too! But just how much do these people need?

    He has no shame and his family name should live in infamy.

    • Pat,

      There was an interesting piece in Vanity Fair recently. I don’t know if it’s the one you read. They call him a sociopath. I haven’t had time to read the whole thing yet.

      http://www.vanityfair.com/online/politics/2009/03/in-court-with-bernie-madoff.html

      It was hard to know which was more egregiously fraudulent: Madoff’s bilking thousands of people of their savings or his perfunctory apology to his family—perhaps his co-conspirators—and his victims.

      A sincere apology would imply remorse—a conscience. But then, if Madoff had a conscience, he would have committed suicide by now.

      And then there was the smirk. All morning long, that sick smile flickered on and off Bernie Madoff’s face. It was especially chilling the last time he flashed it, at the moment that handcuffs were snapped on his wrists. “Did you see that?” someone near me said. “This guy is nuts.”

      • bb: I think it is much too late for a “sincere apology” on his part. The money is basically gone and those people will never see it again. Much like a murderer who pleads for mercy by insisting he/she was “sorry” it does nothing to ease the pain.

        The best he can do is to keep his mouth shut since there will be few who will empathize. He deliberately broke faith and nothing can bring that back now.

  14. Enough is never enough when you get to play with OTHER people’s money.

  15. I just looked up Greed on wikipedia and found this:

    Buddhists believe greed is based on incorrectly connecting material wealth with happiness. This is caused by a view that exaggerates the positive aspects of an object; that is, acquiring material objects has less impact than we imagine on our feelings of happiness. This view has been corroborated by studies in the field of happiness economics, which confirm that beyond the provision of a basic level of material comfort, more wealth does not increase happiness.

    something which should be taught in schools.

  16. I guess “happiness” is all subjective. I used to think that having 8 matching glasses on the shelf and having the top and bottom sheets match was enough! But that’s me.

  17. Wow – now we get Pat Johnson deliciousness in posts as well as comments!!!!!!!!

    I don’t think it’s gonna be ever enough for people like him. They are the new emperors and pharaohs who feel we owe them.

    I’d like to see the CEOs of Countrywide, Bear Stearns, AIG, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Goldmann Sachs, Citicorp, and others who’ve pilfered the US in JAIL.

    And who’s their protector? Obama. Just like Bush protected the oil industries so they can pilfer us, now we have Obama protecting the financial barons.

    I’m so disgusted by this whole financial fiasco – and who bears the brunt of it? WE the poor schmucks. Middle class? Pfft. We are serfs & peons at this point.

    *running for my ranitidine*

  18. Here’s another interesting article.

    http://www.wptv.com/news/local/story/Vanity-Fair-writer-says-Madoff-was-once-punched/GRtLSWcM70yIvL0fHn8Y9w.cspx

    “This guy has been a criminal forever. It’s not new,” said Connolly.

    Connolly contributed to this month’s hard hitting report on Madoff in “Vanity Fair.”

    “I think this guy is one of the worst psychopaths we’ve ever known,” he said on Singer Island today.

    He thinks Madoff’s fall was inevitable.

    “The market coming down has forced the rats off the ship, that’s why we’re finding these people out.”

    Connolly says years ago, one particular source, which was owed money by Madoff, chased him down on Wall Street and did what a lot of people would like to today.

    “He belted him in the nose, broke his nose, then and there”

  19. OT, but if you haven’t read this, it’s stupefying…

    Paulie Abeles’ interview with Newsweek’s Evan Thomas

    You have to read it to believe it…the arrogance, the ignorance. The bias during the primaries was ‘benign’ and didn’t influence the outcome.” He says he “didn’t know about it” to numerous issues: the r*ce baiting, the caucus fraud, etc. Sexism did not play a part—Hillary and Sarah were incompetent.

    http://alegrescorner.soapblox.net/showDiary.do?diaryId=2418

    • I listened to that interview a couple of weeks ago. He “didn’t know” about the caucus fraud. There were so many things he “didn’t know” about, and he didn’t seem concerned about his lack of knowledge. And worst of call he called Hillary “Mrs. Clinton” through the whole interview.

      He also admitted that a lot of journalists his age wanted a black president because they remember the Civil Rights days. RD has written about that, and she was right! A$$holes!

    • Yes, I listened to that-it raised my blood pressure for 24 hours.

      It’s on NQ radio.

  20. Inky says,
    “his family gets to keep his multiple mansions and other ill-gotten gains. ”

    I hope/expect to see news of civil lawsuits against his wife and estate.

    IANAL so I raise the following legal points as questions to which I have no answer.

    1. Why hasn’t RICO been used to take over those ill-gotten gains, not only of Madoff but the crooks at AIG, Chase, Citi etc.?

    2. Why not treat these banksters the same as the innocent grandparents of a grandkid caught nearby with a single joint of marijuana– i.e., treat them as guilty disciples of the devil, confiscate their house, car, savings and all assets, and put the children in maximum security prisons with adult murderers? If such prisons lack space, then give an early release to some of those grandparents and kids, to make room for these serious perpetrators.

    I would include POTUS The Perp among them of course! I just wrote and dedicated a short but sweet “Poem to POTUS The Perp{etually Never-Wrong-or-Responsible}” and his bankster pals.

  21. Does anyone remember the movie of The Diary of Anne Frank?
    There is a scene in there where the husband of Shelly Winters told her ” we could of been free and safe but you would not leave your furniture”
    That always stuck in my mind. I taught my children never get so attached to things that you can not walk away from them.
    People like this thief think that things make them important and have no interest in the well being of others. This is not a man, this is a petty thief who will pay and his family will pay in ways that may not be evident now. By petty I do not mean that he did little damage. He inside is a petty little man with no redeeming value.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  22. Too little regulation-and those who should oversee take regular bribes-that’s how the mafia works over here.

  23. And where was the S.E.C. in all this? Some did bring it to their attention but it was overlooked because this was Bernard Madoff, Prince of Wall Street. Different rules.

    • If you saw 60 minutes a couple of weeks ago it featured an interview with Harry Markopolos, the guy who tried for years to get the SEC to look into the Madoff scheme. Markopolos said that problem with the SEC is that it is run by lawyers, not financial people. The SEC basically just makes sure the proper forms are filed – they don’t do any actual investigating into irregular finanacial activities. His best line was, “They (the SEC) come in after the crime has been committed, they toe-tag the victims, count the bodies, and try to figure out who the crooks were after the fact, which does none of us any good.”

      You can read the interview here:
      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/27/60minutes/main4833667.shtml

  24. OT
    SM
    Do you know anyone or is there anyone here that has access to coal?
    for PUMA cub.
    take some pieces of coal put in a saucer
    some salt
    some bluing ( used to whiten clothes when washing)
    pour salt and bluing over the coal and let it sit for a while.
    The colors and designs the come out of this are amazing.
    My children did this when they were young and enjoyed it

    Pat
    Your are a great poster.
    Cheese cake filled chocolate covered strawberries for you again.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS ( PJ WHO IS A GREAT POSTER) AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • Promises, promises.

    • Thanks for tip!

      Like regular charcoal you buy for bbqs? Or the kind that comes right outta the ground?

      • The kind that comes out of the ground.
        If there is anyone here from KY or the coal region of PA maybe they could send you some.
        My kids had a ball with that project and with PUMA cub being interested in rocks I think she would love it.

        WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

        PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  25. Pat, delurking just to thank you for becoming a front pager. I know you were reluctant and your reasons for that, however, you are right up there with the rest of them. Your tribute to your son left me in tears and I had to go hug mine, it was so beautiful and heartfelt. And this article…gets the juices flowing.
    Madoff will be sentenced in June. Right now he’s imprisoned awaiting sentencing, so his accommodations are rather stark. Once he is sentenced, he will be sent to a minimum security prison (white collar criminals always are., witness Conrad Black), and the surroundings will not be what your average run of the mill burglar experiences. Sadly, you are correct. So far, forensic accountants have only located a billion of his ill gotten gains. Ah, what a world, what a world.
    Anyway, back to lurking, but thank you for becoming a front pager. Terrific writing!

  26. OT – Anita Bryant is back … She plans a new anti-homosexual campaign; is associated with J.C. Watts (former rightwing Repub. AA congressman from Oklahoma) and her husband is apparently a defense contractor with dubious associates.

    Anita is originally from Oklahoma and has been bankrupt a couple of times and run out of several states, including Florida. Guess she will try gay hate again in order to make a living.

    http://www.gossip-boy.com/AnitasNewHate.html

    • This report sounds a little ominous.

    • Why is other people’ s sex life important to people that are not involved?
      I think people who make an issue of this need to get their head examined. If they want to do something useful volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter.
      They even could get a sex life of their own.////////
      Too little brain power, too little real caring for people,too little real things to do with their life.

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  27. I hope he has to climb in and out of that top bunk. Isn’t it ironic how neat and clean that is. The whiteness of it is a great contrast to the cells of street thugs. I wonder sometimes if our priorities get mixed up. If you get mugged and even beaten up, your body is likely to recover even if you walk away with a new mindset about other people and places. If you have all your savings and wealth taken from you overnight with no hope of any recovery in your elder years, can you ever get over it? We treat white collar crime so much “nicer” than physical crime and sometimes I wonder about the fairness of that.

  28. ..adjusting my tinfoil hat…

    I wonder if this dude’s going to “die” in prison a la Ken Lay

    • Ken Lay died in Aspen. He never got to prison. Had the process played out correctly, he would have lost everything.

      I absolutely agree that Ken Lay could very easily still be alive and living very well at some paradise in the world. I also believe letting Madoff out on bail will likely lead to the same well-timed death.

      Did Ken Lay even have a funeral? I remember one small announcement that he died and then nothing.

  29. OT but have you noticed how tired and wan HRC looks in that picture with Meechelle. Another picture of her the other day also looked like she had been run over by a truck. She has really been on the road all over the world and I know those time zones can really do you in. Hope she is ok.

  30. Hello Puma’s. I got a message on Gmail a week ago with someone asking how I was. If anyone wants to keep in touch I am Afrocity Brown on Facebook.

  31. Come back.

  32. I guess Madoff didn’t contribute to Plastic Jesus’s campaign, or else he didn’t contribute enough.

  33. Pat, I know you are hopelessly humble, but goddamnit, deal with how talented you are!!

    We adore you here! I am so delighted to see your name up top! kisses to you!

    “Anita Bryant is back”
    We has a 45 kicking around the house when I was growing up of Anita Bryant singing “Tomorrow belongs to me” –the n@zi anthem. Some lady down the street handed her 45s out to trick or treaters one halloween, and one of my sibs got stuck with that.

    hi gang! indigogrrl! afrocity! katie! sm77!

  34. Hi Pat…great post! So glad you’re writing here now.

    So…how long till Madoff pulls a Kenny Lay and meets with an untimely demise (while boarding a private plane to an exotic island home for the rest of his life?)

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