Live-Blogging The Madoff Creditor Call: "This Is A Crime Scene"

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The call starts 15 minutes late. Suspect.
"Welcome to the first meeting of Bernard creditors."
Irving H. Picard, trustee: "We'd like to point out the emergency exits to the left and right of the auditorium."
"The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the administration of the case, marshaling of the assets, as well as litigation, some of which has already begun, some of which is down the road. There are a couple of ground rules. We are operating out of a crime scene....we're working closely with US attorney's office, as well as the SEC, but there is a limit to what we can say. "
"The history of this proceeding is rather simple." Gives us a recap of what's gone down in the life of Bernie-boy since December 11.
"Under the statute and court appointment order the proceedings were removed from bankruptcy court, and the case is being conducted as though it were a liquidation."


This is the most painful call I've ever listened to. This is not an opportunity for you to go all anti-Semitey, but Picard has the most whiney, nebish-y voice I've ever heard. He sounds like he's moaning, and pauses, like, between syllables. Perhaps this is part of master plan to just get people to leave.
"The primary purpose of the proceeding is to get payment to customers who have lost in this situation. In two ways: first claims can be paid up to the maximum, with advances from the SIPC. The second source will be subsequent payments made on a pro-rata bases, from assets we're able to recover and then turn into cash. That process will take some period of time. We can't at this point specualate how long. The trustee will also conduct an investigation...we will be taking depositions...we've issued some staff subpeonas...I will be filing from time to time a report from the board so the public will know what's been going on...to the extent we can say things, we will...there are some assets at the premises: paintings, prints, statues. I've got an art consultant who'll tell us if we should hold or sell them in this market. With respect to any other assets we find, we'll follow the same procedures. Get advice, etc. We'll try to get the best possible prices."
"Our overhead has been reduced...when I came in there were about 180 employees, we're now down to about 50."
"Gross proceeds from the sale of assets will be set aside for future allocation and distribution. Contrary to administration costs DO NOT, I repeat do not, come out of customer property. That goes for my fees, the fees of my law firm, and the fees of consultants we might require. I've recovered from banks approximately $650 million dollars. Excuse me billion-- nearly everything in this case should be with a 'b'-- I've recovered approximately $650 billion [is corrected by aid] excuse me sorry, in this case it's 'million.' [laughs from audience]"
"We've located books from the premises, from a warehouse, and from a back-office site. We recovered approximately 7,000 boxes, in addition to filing cabinets. We're going to be going through this for a long time. In addition to the premises being a crime scene, when we go to the warehouse, we also have to clear that with the FBI. Again, the cost of that is not being born by the customer. "
"For some substantial period, perhaps as much as 13 years, no securities were purchased in client accounts."
"This proceeding is unique in many ways. It presents a lot of issues. A lot of them are under active consideration. We're moving toward solving them. We're hoping we'll be in a position in very short order. I have every reason to believe we're talking about a very short period of time. I hope and believe."
I can't do this anymore. I'll monitor the fluid situation, in the unlikely event it gets interesting, but for now we're bowing out.

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