Honestly, bless the hearts of the Connecticut branch of the Madoff Movie of the Week. Since losing basically all of Fairfield Greenwich clients' money to Ponzi-boy, they've been trying *really* hard not to flit about telling everyone, but mostly mags and newspapers, how great is to be a Noel. But cutting out press cold turkey is hard! And it's not like the family has posed for any spreads in Vanity Fair lately which, completely sincerely, we think shows enormous restraint. Look, the road to rehabilitation is tough, sometimes you're going to have slips, like when you can't help but saying "Okayyyy, Wall Street Journal, I'll talk to you on the record about the sweet ass life of a Noel. Oh, but you gotta make sure to mention we're victims at least five times, k? 'Cause I'm supposed to be playing one." It feels good, you know? It feels right. It feels like coming home. Let's do this:
With an apartment in Manhattan and a mansion in London, and then in Madrid, a butler, a chauffeured car and a private jet, he did just that. The Colombian threw lavish parties, assembled an impressive art collection and held court from his Falcon yacht anchored off the Spanish island resort of Mallorca, where he has a hacienda. Friends he entertained included the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Felipe, the heir to Spain's throne, and top models like Elle Macpherson.
Friends say Mr. Piedrahita settled down after his marriage to Ms. Noel. He merged Littlestone with Fairfield Greenwich in 1997. Shortly after, he moved to London to a mansion on Chester Square. He entertained lavishly. One friend remembers a dinner party flush with English dukes and members of European royal houses. "The only dukes not there were the Dukes of Hazzard," joked Mr. Botero.
In Madrid, where he moved in 2003, Mr. Piedrahita's lifestyle became even grander. He commuted between Madrid and London on a private Gulfstream jet which was parked at a military base close to Madrid. He was invited to a costume party at a Russian estate where everyone dressed up as czarist-era aristocrats. He went hunting for pheasants with the cream of Spanish society.
*Yes, we know, but let's be serious, this is more fitting.
"From my point of view, I spent most of my time for the last six years, as I explained, diversifying the company away from Madoff. I wanted us to be more diversified. That was my job. I sold [Madoff] but what I most sold was the fund of funds."
Mr. Piedrahita says he and the extended Noel clan are among Mr. Madoff's victims. "We are victims of the biggest fraud in the world, as have been major banks and the most important families in the world," he says. Fairfield Greenwich, in a statement, has said the company was shocked by the fraud and would "aggressively pursue" recovery of the assets lost in Mr. Madoff's scam.
"I look at myself in the morning, and I'm very proud of what I have done, and so are my partners," says Mr. Piedrahita. Then he adds, referring to the Madoff scam: "Nobody knew anything about anything."