'Official' List Of Madoff Victims Offers Some Surprises

Feb 5 2009 | 8:29am ET

The court-appointed liquidator of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities is offering a fuller picture of the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme with an extensive list of Madoff’s customers-cum-victims.

Irving Picard yesterday filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court a 162-page list, compiled by the restructuring firm AlixPartners, of those considered “customers” of Madoff during the year prior to his Dec. 11 arrest on fraud charges. Listed in very, very small type (84 lines per landscape  page) is a wide variety of the good and the great, as well as, presumably, the very rich but not so good or great. Many of the names have been reported previously, but some are new and surprising.

Madoff’s own lawyer, Ira Sorkin, is on the list, which includes those who have been contacted by Picard about their rights in the case. The liquidator mailed more than 8,000 claim forms to potential Madoff victims on Jan. 2.

Sorkin is not the only Madoff associate on the list: J. Ezra Merkin, the former GMAC Financial chairman, who ran a stable of Madoff feeder funds, is there, as is Madoff’s wife, Ruth, his children, and his brother, Peter.

Madoff’s reach extended to Hollywood, with director Steven Spielberg and actors Kevin Bacon, John Malkovich and Kyra Sedgwick listed. John Denver Concerts and John Denver Enterprises also had accounts.

Madoff’s scam even ensnared some baseball royalty: Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax is on the list, alongside his friend and high school classmate Fred Wilpon, the owner of the New York Mets. Wilpon’s Sterling Equities is thought to have lost as much as $500 million.

In fact, the Wilpons and the Mets are among the hardest-hit on the list. In addition to Wilpon himself, many members of his brood also lost money invested with Madoff. The list includes the names of the Mets owners’ wife Judy, brother Richard, son (and Mets chief operating officer) Jeff, daughter Robin Wilpon Wachtler, brother-in-law Saul Katz and daughter-in-law Valerie. Also burned was former Mets second baseman Tim Teufel, who this week took a new job as manager of a Mets minor league team in Florida.

In fact, more than two dozen accounts with Mets ties were listed in the court filing, some with addresses at Shea Stadium—the team’s former home which is well on its way to becoming a pile of rubble and, eventually, a parking lot for their new home, Citi Field. Among them were Mets parent company Sterling Mets, the Mets Limited Partnership, the New York Mets Foundation and Sterling Doubleday, the team’s former parent company. The Brooklyn Baseball Co., a Mets-controlled company that owns the team’s minor league Brooklyn Cyclones, also had money with Madoff, as did several Wilpon family charities and trusts.

“The individual partners lost some money at Madoff. It doesn’t affect the Mets,” Jeff Wilpon told the Associated Press. “It doesn’t affect the Citi Field project. It doesn’t affect SNY or any of our other operating businesses.”

Madoff’s sporting victims extend beyond baseball, according to the list. Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest cable television provider in the U.S., had an account with Madoff. Cablevision owns New York City’s Madison Square Garden and its main tenants, baseketball’s New York Knicks and hockey’s New York Rangers. Also on the list is the former owner of football’s Philadelphia Eagles, Norman Braman, and former hockey player Bob Nystrom.

Labor unions and their pensions, mostly in central New York State, are on the list. Nonprofits were prominent as well, including the American Jewish Congress, the Brooklyn College Foundation, Columbia University and the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages. Also victimized was World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein.

The list reaches into the highest halls of power in the U.S., with the inclusion of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

List Of Bernard Madoff Victims (PDF)

You can find more Madoff coverage in the FINalternatives Special Section on the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

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