The Madoff Loss – How Large Might it Grow

  • Last week, the court appointed trustee for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC mailed claim forms to more than 8,000 potential victims – both individuals and institutions with open accounts in the 12 months preceding the collapse. This mailing did not include potential secondary victims (i.e. those invested through Merkin’s Ascot Partners). Advertisements were also published in various U.S. and Israeli newspapers.
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg’s loss has now been put at $20 million (approximately 90% of his foundations’ value); Katzenberg indicates this will cause “extraordinary damage” to his philanthropic efforts.
  • Mark Rich (of Clinton pardon fame) lost $15 million. Despite the negative PR, Rich supported a new wing of the Tel Aviv Art Museum and played a part in assisting aliyah from Ethiopia, Iran, the former Soviet Union and Yemen.
  • While we have discussed losses to the Jewish world through Madoff and related investments, as evidenced by the trustee’s mailing, the broader international fallout is much larger. For those interested, here are the latest lists (January 7th) from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal of individuals, banks, charities and investment firms exposed to losses in Madoff’s various investment funds.
  • In related news, Ezra Merkin finally resigned as chairman of GMAC, the troubled financial arm of General Motors. Merkin has also recently resigned from leadership roles in several Jewish organizations, including Yeshiva University and UJA Federation New York; we understand he will not be resigning as president of Fifth Avenue Synagogue (where individual congregants have losses estimated at $2 billion through Madoff and Madoff-related investments).