At dinner tonight, a friend said of Madoff, "I’d love to interview him. I want to know ‘what makes him tick?‘" We’re both psychoanalysts and naturally drawn to questions like his, what history would create a Bernie Madoff? I’ll admit to surfing around looking for a narrative, maybe somebody who grew up with him who might have a hint or two. That search hasn’t been very satisfying.
Swindler Bernard Madoff faces up to 150 years in jail for a $50 billion Ponzi scheme
BY Thomas Zambito and Corky Siemaszko
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
March 11th 2009
Madoff, 70, who was wearing a bulletproof vest under his dark gray suit, white shirt and black tie Tuesday, said nothing as the prosecutor laid out his bleak future. Earlier, he spread his fingers nervously along the defense table as Chin ruled he could retain lawyer, even though the lawyer’s sons claim Madoff stole $900,000 from a trust account set up by their grandfather. From time to time, Madoff’s seemingly bland mask was betrayed by a facial tic he has developed of late – an involuntary widening of the eyes…
Mom and Dad and Ruth and Bernie
Our friend the swindler
By John Maccabee
Feb 22, 2009
The best place to begin to find out about Bernie Madoff is inside his closet, in the apartment on East 64th Street. To the left are four rows of four drawers, each drawer only large enough to contain a single shirt—sixteen identical shirts, same cut, same color, a French blue that matches his eyes. Straight ahead is a row of a dozen identical suits, double-breasted, charcoal gray, English cut, pants and jackets on separate hangers, with the same amount of air on each side of each hanger. Below are two rows of handmade tie-shoes, at least a dozen of them, and again, each in the same style, the same color. There are no decisions to make, no possible deviations. Stepping into this closet was perhaps the one moment in his roiling days that had the appearance of calm.
Bernie wanted to be rich; he dedicated his life to it. He was loved and admired by many, but when his story finally runs its course, it may be that the adoration that inspired him had more to do with things rather than people. Ruth, Bernie’s wife, told my sister, who told me, that when they first moved into the apartment on East 64th Street, Ruth walked upstairs one night and found Bernie sitting alone in the dark, in the living room, weeping. He had made it, he told her. The apartment was impeccable—the last co-op in New York that Angelo Donghia designed, they bragged—with immaculate flourishes of color, deep-red Chinese lacquered cabinets that stood on opposite sides of a doorway, and the creamy color that extended down the curved staircase, and the jewel of a study next to the master bedroom, with its polished mahogany paneling, silver tea-paper ceiling, and sterling-silver sconces…There was only one thing that made my mother nervous: Bernie’s twitch. Bernie’s twitch began in his right eye and spread to the left: There were also other facial tics, random body tics, elbow tucks, jacket-pocket tappings. Maybe the business was driving him crazy, Mom thought. But Bernie developed his tics as a diversion from his stammer. I noticed this once, when he began sputtering as I talked with him about my account…