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Write-Offs: 01.05.09

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$$$The Mustique Connection And The "Lucky" Number 12 [Guest of a Guest]
$$$ "Too many reporters are so inauthentic"-- Liz Claman [Poynter]
$$$ "NEW YORK - (Business Wire) It's the Economy, NY! What's Happening and What It Means to You, a new seven-part series hosted by New York Times business columnist and editor Andrew Ross Sorkin, premieres Thursday, January 8 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN and on WLIW21 at 11:30 p.m.
It's the Economy, NY! debuts with Sorkin's interviews with two of America's most influential players in the financial world: Richard Parsons, director of Citigroup Inc. and former CEO and chairman of Time Warner Inc., and Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes Inc. and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine. Ellen Zimiles, co-founder and CEO of Daylight Forensic & Advisory, will also be featured, lending insight into Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion, worldwide Ponzi scheme. A co-chairman of the Mayor's Commission on Economic Opportunity in New York, Parsons will analyze Governor Paterson's State of the State Address scheduled for January 7 and the state's budget crisis while Forbes will discuss the bailout of the auto industry, taxes and President-Elect Obama's economic stimulus package."
$$$ "Ira Sorkin, Mr. Madoff's lawyer, said the items were sent "innocently" to Mr. Madoff's brother Peter, his sons and a couple in Florida. "It is clear there was no attempt by Mr. Madoff or Mrs. Madoff to violate bail," Mr. Sorkin said.
The items included watches, $25 cufflinks, pens and $200 mittens that were a Hanukkah gift, Mr. Sorkin said. Mr. Sorkin said the items were mailed Dec. 24, two days before Mr. Madoff's wife agreed to a voluntary freeze on her assets." [WSJ]
$$$Which group is more full of shit? [1-2]
$$$ To avoid the rough, country clubs cut fees [Boston Globe]
$$$ Like my close personal friend and Cliff Asness always says, you can't fire your secretary, because she's the one who knows all about your web of lies and bullshit and deceit. Plus, like, your weird, fetish-y stuff. Same holds for office managers who are given up close and personal access to your life, like Julia Fenwick, the manager of Bernie Madoff's London office, who shared a host of info with the Daily Mail on the Ponz. master, like the fact that he's "anal retentive," loves sausage, and hates things that aren't square (save for pyramid scams).

The problem with the new office video conferencing system was the shape of
the wall where the camera was mounted.
It was semi-circular. And for Bernard Madoff, the man now at the centre of
the biggest alleged corporate fraud in history, semi-circular was beyond endurance.
'I can't have that in my office,' he declared.
'I can't live with it. It has to be square.'
The wall was duly remodelled.
'Everything was always so controlled. The London office had to resemble as closely as possible the New York office - grey walls, grey carpets, black trim, black cupboards. Everything was grey and black.
'On the occasions he visited London, we'd spend days before his arrival levelling the blinds, making sure the computer screens were an identical height, lining every picture up straight. No paper was allowed on the desks.
...his and his wife Ruth's love of greasy-spoon cafes, Boots face cream, the jet-set lifestyle and Neil Diamond.
He always ate the same sandwich - cream cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber on brown bread.
In the light of the recent suicide of New York fund manager Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, who lost £950million invested with Madoff on behalf of Europe's wealthiest aristocratic and royal families, she says: 'I have begun to wonder if Bernie has two personalities.'
'Bernie was tee-total - he only ever drank Diet Coke. But two of his vices are cigars and pork sausages. Even though he is Jewish, he loves pork sausages. When he came to London, he'd always visit a particular greasy-spoon in Mayfair.'
If anyone in the office didn't agree with him or he felt he was being pressurised,
he would assert himself by shouting at employees: 'It's my bat and
my ball!'
But Mrs Fenwick emphasises that he was not a tyrant and was generally 'Mr Calm', even if he did use the F-word liberally.
'He was a bit of a cheeky chappie in some respects.
'He was a terrible flirt. All the girls in the London office thought so. He wasn't really lecherous, though.'
'I remember seeing Bernie and Ruth haggling with people selling cheap silver bangless.'