Mark Madoff, the oldest of Bernard Madoff’s two sons, committed suicide on Saturday, by hanging himself in his Manhattan apartment. Saturday was a significant day: the second anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Mark Madoff’s lawyer, prominent Paul Weiss partner Martin Flumenbaum, issued a statement yesterday: “Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy…. [Mark Madoff was] an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”
Flumenbaum wasn’t the only powerful Paul Weiss personage named “Martin” with involvement in this case. Mark Madoff’s body was actually found by legendary litigator Martin London, a longtime partner at the firm who is now of counsel at PW.
As noted on his Paul Weiss website bio, “[t]he gamut of Mr. London’s successes is vast.” But his experience is primarily on the civil side, with occasional forays into white-collar criminal work. His docket generally doesn’t include violence and death; he’s not the kind of lawyer who sees dead people (e.g., a homicide prosecutor).
So how did Marty London come to find Mark Madoff’s body?
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.
Our condolences go out to the Madoff and London families. No matter how terrible the crimes of Bernard Madoff, his son’s death is still “a terrible and unnecessary tragedy,” in the words of Marty Flumenbaum.
In other Madoff news, Irving Picard of Baker Hostetler, the trustee liquidating Madoff’s investment firm, filed a mammoth lawsuit on Friday against an Austrian bank, Bank Medici AG, and its founder, Sonja Kohn. Picard alleges that Kohn — who looks like Bernie Madoff in drag, according to DealBook commenters — conspired to funnel more than $9 billion into his Ponzi scheme.
Sonja Kohn — a Mrs. Doubtfire doppelganger, or perhaps the love child of Bernie Madoff and Helen Thomas — allegedly received at least $62 million in secret kickbacks from Madoff for her work. The trustee’s lawsuit against Bank Medici and Kohn seeks damages of $19.6 billion, tripled to $58.8 billion pursuant to RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).
Picard has been litigating up a storm over the past few weeks, filing Madoff-related lawsuits against a dozen major banks and several Madoff family members — including Mark Madoff, who was reportedly upset that his young children were named as defendants in one suit by Picard. The flurry of lawsuits was spurred by a deadline for Picard to file such clawback actions: the two-year statute of limitations ran out a few hours ago, on midnight Saturday.
So Picard has named all his targets. Now he just needs to extract money from them, for the benefit of the Madoff victims.
Mark Madoff has passed away. But Madoff-related litigation will surely live on for many years.
Madoff’s Son Found Dead in Suicide [New York Times]
Mark Madoff, oldest son of Bernie Madoff, hangs himself with dog leash in SoHo apartment [New York Daily News]
Madoff Trustee Sues Bank Medici Ahead of Clawback Deadline Today [Bloomberg News via ABA Journal]
Madoff Trustee Seeks $19.6 Billion From Austrian Banker [DealBook / New York Times]
Madoff Mania: Trustee Churns Out Suits Right Up to Deadline [Am Law Daily]