Open Letter To NY Times’ Joe Nocera Re: Madoff
As a longtime subscriber to The New York Times, could you enlighten me as to when the media in our nation diverted its mission of pursuing the truth to one of actively advancing agendas? Actually, Joe, hold that thought and perhaps we could have that lengthy discussion another time.
I write to you today specifically in regard to your interest in the ongoing legal battles in the recovery and restitution of funds in the Madoff scandal. In your recent commentaries (The Mets Switch Teams; March 19, 2012, and Helen Chaitman Doesn’t Know When to Quit; March 29, 2012), one does not have to read all that hard to gather you are a strong mouthpiece for SIPC trustee Irving Picard. In the process, you make what amount to ad hominem attacks on Ms. Chaitman who represents hundreds of Madoff investors.
Rather than debating the merits or lack thereof in the recent settlement crafted between the owners of the New York Mets and the SIPC trustee Irving Picard, perhaps we could dig a little deeper and address questions which remain unanswered yet central to what was really going on inside the Madoff operation. Given your position and accompanying power of the public pen, I would ask you to address the following:
1. Why is it that we have witnessed little meaningful progress and additional indictments emanating from the interrogation of former Madoff CFO Frank DiPascali? Are we to believe that the Madoff scandal truly revolved simply around Bernie and a handful of his ne’er do well nitwits inside his office? Come on, Joe. America is dying for somebody to connect the dots and expose the inevitable yet currently unreported links between those inside and outside Madoff’s lair. What tunes is Frankie boy singing?
2. Perhaps you may care to further pursue the allegation embedded in the case of Amerivet Securities v FINRA of an investment in Madoff by the Wall Street self-regulatory organization. If nothing else, digging into this allegation may provide real color on the nature of the relationship between Mr. Madoff and Mary Schapiro. You do recall that Bernie identified our current chair of the SEC as a “dear friend.” Do you think further investigation on the real nature of the Madoff-Schapiro relationship might sell some newspapers? You think?
I highlighted this case, referenced above, and the specific point regarding an investment in Madoff by FINRA back in late August 2009:
I just received a copy of the Amerivet Securities vs. FINRA complaint. See pages 8-9, points #24-28 for details regarding the allegation that FINRA was invested with Bernie Madoff.
Heckuva lead, Joe, and the allegation remains unanswered as the Amerivet v FINRA case remains in the courts. Further enlightenment on this angle of the Madoff scandal would definitely sell some papers.
3. Given your obvious interest in SIPC trustee Irving Picard — he of the many millions of dollars in legal fees in pursuing the Madoff money — I would ask you to go well beyond Picard’s work. Where should you navigate, Joe? How did SIPC find itself in a position where it could not properly protect the Madoff investors? Joe, you are aware that all of the Wall Street firms — including Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), Merrill Lynch, and Madoff — paid an annual premium for SIPC coverage of $150 for 13 years, right? Yes, in order to put that SIPC stamp of approval and the perceived appearance of investor protection on their brokerage statements, these titans of finance paid a full $150 annual premium from 1996 up until 2009 . . . Joe, this is the REAL story.
Heckuva lead, Joe. If I could be so bold, dig deeper into this angle and expose the people and the process that allowed Wall Street firms — including Madoff — to play this charade on investors and I think you’re looking at a Pulitzer Prize winning story.
Put the pom-poms away Joe and break out the shovel and start to dig into these leads. Perhaps we might grab some coffee or a beer and we can work on this together. I’m buying. My calendar is flexible.
The truth, Joe, it is all about the truth. Just to let you know, I had inducted you into my Sense on Cents Hall of Fame for prior reporting so I do think you are definitely up to the job.
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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets, our economy, and our political realm so that meaningful investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.