WHAT GETS AMERICANS SO MAD – AT 8:12 P.M. ET: One of the things that outrages Americans, especially in hard times, is the way in which some people manipulate the system to enrich themselves while delivering "services" that no one can quite figure out.
Remember Bernie Madoff, the consummate investment crook? Well, there are some guys who are being paid to sort out his holdings and distribute them to his victims. Consider this, from the New York Post:
Hundreds of Ponzi king Bernard Madoff's victims today challenged the latest bill from his bankruptcy trustee, which seeks more than $34 million for 120 days of work.
The Aug. 20 bill, for services rendered between Feb. 1 and May 31, works out to more than $5,000 a day for court-appointed trustee Irving Picard and more than $283,000 a day for his firm, Baker & Hostetler, court papers say.
"On an annualized basis, this would be $104,900,950," according to the objection filed by Diane and Roger Peskin, Maureen Ebel and "several hundred" other unnamed Madoff investors.
Maybe that's why luxury stores in New York are booming while the rest of the country suffers.
Their Manhattan Bankruptcy Court filing says that "investors have no ability to evaluate the efficiency or professionalism of the work covered by these applications" because Judge Burton Lifland ruled that Picard and his firm "do not have to file their detailed billing reports."
But they say that "despite the expenditure of more than $2.3 million per week in professional fees and expenses, the trustee has still not determined 2,995 customer claims constituting $14 billion of the $20 billion of claims the trustee has said he will recognize."
The filing also alleges that while Picard has claimed to have recovered $1.5 billion in assets to distribute to Madoff's burned investors, nearly $100 billion was "simply sitting in bank accounts in Madoff's name when the trustee was appointed."
COMMENT: Nice, huh? Don't tell me this is "free enterprise." This is somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody in authority. It's a big problem in New York.
But the guy who's getting all this loot knows one thing: All he has to do is write a check fora measly three million to his favorite charity, and he becomes "a great man," a "philathropist," someone who "gave back," and a hero. My friends, that is the way the Manhattan game is played.
September 2, 2010