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Closing Bell: 12.31.08

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***Madoff's Stolen Statue Recovered (FINalternatives)
This is some bull shit. The bronze statue of two lifeguards which was fittingly stolen from Bernie's Palm Beach back yard last week is back.
***Horseman's firm loses billions in scam (Times Union)
Snicker yourselves to death: "A hedge fund investor who poured millions into Saratoga's equine economy has abruptly stopped all new construction on his huge horse farm and wants to sell his thoroughbreds after losing some $7.5 billion in the Bernard Madoff scandal.
Jeffrey Tucker, the founding partner of Fairfield Greenwich Group, bought Stonebridge Farm in Schuylerville in 2004, and has since built New York's first track with a synthetic racing surface and indoor arena on the 188-acre farm. Tucker, 62, owns and cares for about 50 thoroughbreds on the site, considered one of horse racing's premier training facilities, and recently purchased a 230-acre satellite farm in Gansevoort."
***Concert Industry Bucks the Recessionary Trend (WSJ)
All this means to me is that a certain someone will be able to get his private Jonas Brothers concerts on the cheap. And that's something I have no problem with.

The concert industry has so far bucked the recession, according to year-end data from trade magazine Pollstar, but promoters are bracing for a bumpy 2009.
Box-office receipts from North American concerts through December were $4.2 billion, up 7.8% from 2007. But the total number of tickets sold for the 100 top-grossing shows fell 3%, to 35.6 million, the second consecutive year of declines. The growth in revenue was the result of rising ticket prices. The average ticket to one of the 100 top-grossing shows cost $66.90, up $4.83, or 8%, from 2007 and more than double the average price in 1998.
That could spell trouble in 2009.

***The screen name belonging to one Bernie Madoff recently came back online a few days ago. The buddy icon appears to be the Grand Tetons. We'll be auctioning off this and other noteworthy persons' SN's in the New Year, so take some time to devise the perfect IM now.
***Obama And That Other Ponzi Scheme (TSG)
Meaning Norman Hsu, charged last year with operating a $60 million Madoff scheme. Also, Matt Dillon drove too fast in Vermont for the police's liking, but got a mugshot that I legtimately say could and should be his new headshot out of the deal.
***Help Wanted: The Next Neel Kashkari (Deal Journal)
Who needs a job?
***No bonuses for Vikram and Win this year. [SEC]
***Cerberus: "Who would have believed that in a short period of time we would see the collapse of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Lehman, AIG, WAMU and Ambac? Who would have believed that even Citigroup would require significant injections of capital by the government to stabilize its business as we watched its stock trade from a 52-week high of $31 to $7.02 as of December 19, 2008? No financial institution has escaped this downturn. Banks, insurance companies, mortgage companies, investment banks, and other financial companies have all had severe problems. It has been the most difficult for non-deposit financial institutions. Any financial business that needs significant credit lines, other than deposit institutions, is either collapsing or, in the best case, experiencing severe stress." [PDF]
We hope you all have at least marginally Happy New Years! Yes, even you. Back full-time on Monday, with the possibility of a surprise appearance on Friday with photos of NYE at the Guccione pad, starring the Hill Hearing Harem, depending on how the night goes.