Madoff’s Son Found Dead in

 

 

Mark Madoff, right, with his parents Bernard and Ruth Madoff in
November 2001.

 

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
Madoff’s Body removed from his Apartment. Dead of a suicide on the second Anniversary of his Father’s arrest.
December 11, 2010

 

 

Madoff’s Son Found Dead in
Suicide

By DIANA
B. HENRIQUES

Mark Madoff, the older of Bernard
L. Madoff
’s two sons, hanged himself in his Manhattan apartment on Saturday,
the second anniversary of his father’s arrest for running a gigantic Ponzi
scheme
that shattered thousands of lives around the world.

“Mark Madoff took his own life today,” Martin Flumenbaum, Mark Madoff’s
lawyer, said in a statement. “This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy.” He
called his client “an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who
succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and
innuendo.”

According to Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne, officers responded to
a 911 call made just before 7:30 Saturday morning from Mr. Madoff’s apartment
building at 158 Mercer Street. Mr. Browne said Mr. Madoff’s body was found
hanging from a black dog leash attached to a metal beam on the living room
ceiling. He said there was no evidence of foul play.

Mr. Madoff’s 2-year-old son was asleep in an adjoining bedroom, Mr. Browne
said.

Law enforcement officials said Mr. Madoff had sent e-mails to his wife in
Florida sometime after 4 a.m. Saturday. “It was more than one,” said an
official, who added: “He basically tells his wife he loves her and he wants
someone to check on the child.”

Mr. Browne said the body was discovered by Martin London, a prominent New
York lawyer who is the stepfather of Mark Madoff’s wife, Stephanie. Mr. London
apparently had gone to the apartment in response to the message to check on the
child. Reached by phone, Mr. London declined to comment.

A person in close contact with the family who had spoken with Mark Madoff
frequently in the last few weeks said he had been in “an increasingly fragile
state of mind” as the anniversary of his father’s arrest approached. The person
said Mr. Madoff had expressed both continuing bitterness toward his father and
anxiety about a series of lawsuits that were filed against him, his brother
Andrew and other family members.

Just last week, Mr. Madoff, 46, was among the directors and officers of a
Madoff affiliate in London who were sued by the trustee seeking assets for
victims of the scheme.

It was the second lawsuit filed against him by the trustee, Irving
H. Picard
, who had initially sued him last year seeking to recover
approximately $200 million that the family had received in salaries, bonuses,
expense-account payments and gains in their own investment accounts at the
Madoff firm.

Mr. Madoff was particularly upset that the trustee had named his young
children as defendants in a lawsuit filed in late November seeking the recovery
of money Bernard Madoff had paid out to his extended family over the years,
according to the person who recently spoke with him, who insisted on anonymity
because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the family.

The person said Mr. Madoff had also been upset at some recent news coverage
speculating that criminal charges against him and his brother were still likely.

Charges have not been filed against any of the immediate family members, and
their lawyer has said publicly that neither Mark Madoff nor his brother has ever
been notified by prosecutors that they were the subjects of a criminal
investigation.

Nevertheless, there has been speculation that members of the Madoff family
were vulnerable to being prosecuted for tax-law violations, given the variety of
low-cost loans and generous expense-account payments that were part of the
office culture at the Madoff brokerage firm.

The person who had recently spoken with Mr. Madoff said that there was also
growing discouragement about finding a job. “He had concluded he was
unemployable,” the person said.

Ira
Lee Sorkin
, a lawyer for Bernard Madoff, said he had not been able to
contact his client at the North Carolina prison where he is serving a 150-year
sentence for his crimes.

“But I’m very sure he has been informed,” Mr. Sorkin said, adding, “This is a
great tragedy on many, many levels.”

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Traci Billingsley, said,
“Any time there is a death of a family member, and the agency is notified, we
immediately notify the inmate.”

Inmates may request to attend funerals, she said, and those requests are
considered case by case.

Peter Chavkin, a lawyer for Ruth
Madoff
, Mark’s mother, said simply: “Ruth is heartbroken.”

Mark Madoff had been a licensed broker at his father’s firm since June 1987.
A number of Mark’s oldest childhood friends from Roslyn, N.Y., invested with the
Madoff firm and lost their savings in the fraud, said another person who was
close to the family. This destroyed those relationships and caused Mr. Madoff
great pain, the person said..

And on the advice of his lawyer, Mark Madoff has had no contact with his
parents since the day before his father’s arrest two years ago.

The steps that led to that arrest began when he and his brother, Andrew,
confronted their father over his plans to distribute hundreds of millions of
dollars in bonuses to employees months ahead of schedule.

According to documents filed by the F.B.I.
at the time of the arrest, that meeting led to a private conversation on Dec.
10, 2008, in which Bernard Madoff told his sons that all the wealth and success
the family seemed to possess were based on a lie — an immense Ponzi scheme that
was crumbling under the pressures of the financial crisis.

Mark and his brother immediately consulted a lawyer and were advised they had
to report their father’s confession to law enforcement. They did so, and the
following morning their father was arrested at his Manhattan penthouse.

The public fury over the stunning crime — Bernard Madoff estimated the losses
at $50 billion — was not limited to its mastermind. Mark Madoff, his mother and
his brother were all the subject of constant media speculation. Many articles
speculated that they had been involved in their father’s crime, or at least were
aware of it.

The lawsuits that are pending against Mr. Madoff will not necessarily be
derailed by his death. Typically, the litigation would continue against the
estate of any deceased defendant.

The autopsy on Mr. Madoff is scheduled to be conducted on Sunday, said Ellen
S. Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city’s chief medical examiner, Charles
S. Hirsch
. She said that the results should be available “by early
afternoon” on Sunday.

Mr. Madoff’s body was removed on a stretcher from his building on the edge of
SoHo shortly after noon Saturday. Police blocked off the street for a while as a
crowd of reporters and camera crews mixed with a growing number of people
stopping to watch. The building is also home to the performer Jon
Bon Jovi
.

Gregarious and handsome, Mark was the more outgoing of Mr. Madoff’s two sons.
At the University
of Michigan
, his social circle included students largely from other
well-to-do East Coast families.

He graduated in 1986 and moved to New York to join his father’s firm. Most of
his friends rented crammed studios, but Mark lived in an apartment his father
had bought for him in Sterling Plaza, a luxury high-rise on Manhattan’s East
Side developed by Sterling Equities. Sterling is controlled by Fred
Wilpon
, the owner of the New York Mets, whose family was friendly with the
Madoffs and whose businesses had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the
Ponzi scheme.

Mark Madoff married his college girlfriend, Susan, and moved to Greenwich,
Conn., where they raised two children. They divorced in the 1990s and Mark
eventually moved back to Manhattan. He was remarried, to Stephanie Mikesell, and
had two more children with her.

His brother Andrew was considered more cerebral and reserved than Mark, and
served as co-director of trading with his brother. He, too, joined his father’s
firm after earning an undergraduate business degree from the Wharton School at
the University
of Pennsylvania
.

The civil lawsuit Mr. Picard filed last year said Bernard Madoff’s firm
“operated as if it were the family piggy bank.” It said Mark received at least
$66.9 million of improper proceeds, including approximately $30 million in
compensation since 2001, from his father’s firm.

Mark and his relatives were “completely derelict” in carrying out their roles
at the firm, the suit said.

At the time, Mr. Flumenbaum, Mark’s lawyer, said in a statement that his
client “strongly disagreed with the trustee’s baseless claims.”

 

Peter Lattman, Liz Robbins and Tim Stelloh contributed reporting.

Copyright 2010. The New York Timmes Company . All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: