Bernie Madoff

Watch my fat wallet devour its prey.

* Should we allow circuit judges to sit by designation on the U.S. Supreme Court? Here’s an interesting idea from Professor Gerard Magliocca. [Concurring Opinions]

* Hey Yalies: Did your alma mater accidentally make your name and Social Security number available to the public? (I got a letter about this; I guess it was legit.) [Gawker]

* You’ve got mail! It looks like a bill — from Wachtell Lipton. [Adweek]

* My morbidly obese, George Costanza monstrosity gets a shout-out in an article about oversized wallets. [Smart Money]

Bernie Madoff

* Is Harvard developing a course on business ethics based on the career of Bernie Madoff? Madoff apparently thinks so. [Dealbreaker]

* To all of you who say that my home state of New Jersey is good for nothing, read this. [DNA Info]

* Employment lawyers, any thoughts on this type of workplace behavior? [Fashionista]

* To those of you who want us to moderate comments more aggressively — we do moderate, but only in extreme cases, when brought to our attention — consider these wise words from Professor Paul Campos (aka ScamProf): “Law in general and law school in particular is already too full of fake politeness, fear-induced groveling, craven appeasement of dubious authority figures, unappetizing obsessions with hierarchical status, and other forms of soul-crushing inauthenticity.” So there. [Inside the Law School Scam]

Fortunately, you gave me so much paper. Otherwise, I would have had to watch a Mets game, which would have been a very painful process.

– the eminently quotable Judge Jed Rakoff (S.D.N.Y.), praising the thorough briefing by lawyers involved in the legal battle between the Bernard Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, and the owners of the New York Mets, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz.

* The tried and true accounting method of finders keepers, losers weepers prevailed in an appeals court win for Irving Picard in the Madoff case. [Bloomberg]

* Why in the world did you think it would be a good idea to file a $77M lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson? Are you out of your “superior legal mind”? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Apparently racism still exists, even at prestigious university like NYU. Skip the damn banana, I’ll take $210K instead, thanks. [New York Daily News]

* First they came for the eggs, and I didn’t speak out because I don’t like breakfast. Then they came for the turkey, and I flipped out because my freezer is full of it. [Los Angeles Times]

* Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but Christian Louboutin plans to appeal last week’s ruling on his red-soled shoes. You go girl, because I don’t want to pay for an imitation. [Daily Mail]

* What kind of a neighbor goes after Girl Scouts for selling cookies in their own driveway? Apparently the kind you don’t want to live next to anymore. [Daily RFT / Riverfront Times]

Maria Shriver

* A former Ropes & Gray attorney caught up in the Galleon Group insider trading scandal, Brien Santarlas, testified yesterday that he was paid thousands of dollars for tips. Then, he was told “to dispose of the phone — break it in half, submerge it in water and put it in a garbage can.” He was also told to “Fart on it, dredge it in panko bread crumbs, and talk mess about its momma.” [Bloomberg]

* A candidate to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the IMF, former Baker & McKenzie chairman Christine Lagarde, may have a legal problem of her own. A less rapey one, but still. [Reuters]

* Maria Shriver has retained prominent divorce attorney Laura Wasser, but has not decided whether to divorce Ahnuld or not. Every decent Arnold Schwarzenegger joke has been done, so here’s Jean-Claude Van Damme dancing. [CBS News]

* An Oregon woman has won her fight to get high and carry a handgun. A three-episode arc on Cops is still being negotiated. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Vivia Chen continues her impeccable trolling with a post on lawyers who were voted “most likely to succeed” in high school. Money quote: “If you’re in law, odds are slim that you came within breathing distance of cheerleaders or star athletes.” [The Careerist]

* The owners of the Mets considered buying fraud insurance for their Madoff money in 2001. Instead, they traded for Mo Vaughn. Bad Idea Jeans. [New York Times]

* The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a lawsuit asking courts to force major companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Sotomayor spent the entire oral argument asking attorneys how she could fit more Miami Sound Machine on her Zune. [New York Times]

* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who can be seen every Thursday night on 30 Rock playing Kenneth the Page, shares none of Jan Brewer’s qualms about a “birther bill.” [Politico]

* The Ecuadorean Slapfight (also the name of my ska band in high school) between Patton Boggs, Gibson Dunn, and Chevron was squashed by a judge yesterday. [Reuters]

* Baker Hostetler is balling out of control on L’Affaire Madoff. [WSJ Law Blog]

Judge Vaughn Walker

* Tiger Blogger Vivia Chen wants white guys to be hunted like animals. [The Careerist]

* A copyright troll has found a way to exact a toll without actually owning any copyrights. No word yet on whether anyone has gained entrance into the boy’s hole. [Wired via ABA Journal]

* Alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning is being transferred to another prison. Julian Assange celebrated the news by going dancing. [Fox News]

* Sponsors of Proposition 8 are mad that retired judge Vaughn Walker, who presided over Prop 8′s defeat in court, is giving lectures around the country that feature a three-minute clip of the trial. They say the video should remain in the closet. Or a desk drawer of some sort. [Los Angeles Times]

Jeff Skilling

* Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s appeal was denied by the Fifth Circuit. While he remains the smartest guy in the room, the room consists of him and a half-wit cellmate whose only discernible talent is making Prune-o. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Bruce Fein, an attorney who worked on Clinton’s impeachment and called for Bush’s impeachment as well, has drafted articles of impeachment for Barack Obama. His high crime and misdemeanor? Time theft. [Politico]

* An Ohio man has been charged with a misdemeanor for barking at a police dog. When asked why he was barking at the female dog, the man calmly replied, “Bitch owes me money.” [CBS News]

Raj Rajaratnam

* The government rested its case in the Raj Rajaratnam trial yesterday. Of additional note is the fact that Rajabba sits ten feet behind his defense table, partially obstructed from the jury box. You can’t completely block Rajabba from view. You can only wish to contain him. [New York Times]

* The government has warned attorneys for former Madoff employees not to use money that might be associated with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. That includes, for their own health, any ass pennies. [ABA Journal]

* The Fourth Circuit rules in favor of a pundit-professor, in a case about the free speech rights of faculty members at public universities. [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* Charlie Sheen is trying to trademark his catchphrases now. He’s overexposed like a frostbitten penis — is there anything funny left to say about him at this point? (We might try; check in later.) [Forbes]

They had to know. But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’

Bernard Madoff, speaking about the banks and hedge funds that invested in his Ponzi scheme, in his first for-publication interview since his December 2008 arrest (via Dealbreaker).

Mr. Met gives me bad touches every summer.

I’ve been avoiding writing about Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of getting money for the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, and his lawsuit against New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. It’s too painful. It’s like being close enough to see Oliver Perez’s face just as you know things are going to completely unravel but still hoping against hope that he’ll throw a strike. It’s like wondering if David Wright spends his nights crying softly while Mike Piazza texts him weekly updates on how many days he has until he’s an unrestricted free agent. I know what’s happening; I just don’t like to talk about it.

But, as we mentioned in Morning Docket, Picard’s massive complaint was made public today. He says Wilpon and Katz made $300 million in fictitious profits from business dealings with Madoff.

As you read through the allegations, try to remember how poorly the Wilpons make decisions about whom to hire, whom to fire, and how much to play baseball players — and then tell me if you are at all surprised by anything here…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nothing About the Madoff Thing Surprises Any Mets Fans”

Steven Simkin is too cool for a necktie.

Being married to a Paul Weiss partner is nice; getting divorced from a Paul Weiss partner is even nicer. Thanks to the prestigious firm’s eye-popping profits, getting divorced from a PW partner should give you a seven-figure payday (assuming the Paul Weiss partner has been a partner for a while and is the “monied spouse” — a pretty safe assumption, unless you work at, say, Goldman Sachs).

But when you get that gigantic payment — like winning the lottery, but without all the taxes — can you feel confident in its finality? Or do you have to worry that your ex-spouse, a partner at a firm known for its aggressive and brilliant lawyering, will find a clever way to get some of that money back from you, years later?

Consider the tale of Steven Simkin, a Paul Weiss partner of almost three decades, and his ex-wife Laura Blank, who works in education. It involves a multimillion-dollar marital estate, residential properties in Manhattan and the tony suburb of Scarsdale, and an investment account with one Bernie Madoff.

And yes, for your voyeuristic pleasure, the tale comes with hard numbers, lots of numbers…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Millionaire Paul Weiss Partner Might Get Money from His Ex-Wife — Thanks to Bernie Madoff”

Irving Picard

Rack up another win for trustee Irving Picard, the partner at Baker Hostetler who’s cleaning up the Bernard Madoff mess. On Friday, Picard and Preet Bharara, the headline-making U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced a $7.2 billion settlement with the estate of Jeffry Picower (no it’s not spelled “Jeffrey”).

Picower, a successful investor and prominent philanthropist, earned billions — both real, through investing with Goldman Sachs, and fictional, through investing with Madoff — before he died in October 2009. Picower was found dead in the swimming pool of his home in Palm Beach, apparently after suffering a heart attack (a plot device familiar to viewers of Brothers & Sisters and The OC). If he had held on until January 2010, Picower would have avoided the estate tax.

Of the $7.2 billion settlement, $5 billion will go to Picard, to settle the complaint he filed against Picower in bankruptcy court, and $2.2 billion will go to the Department of Justice — the largest civil forfeiture payment in U.S. history. All of this money will eventually find its way to qualifying Madoff victims.

Based on monies collected to date, what kind of recovery might Madoff’s victims be looking at?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A $7.2 Billion Settlement Generates Money for Madoff Victims”

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