Here's one for you-- is there anyone better equipped to deal with a disaster (natural or, let's just say for example, financial) than a Madoff or someone related to a Madoff? Catherine Hooper, the girlfriend of Andy pictured above, who allegedly has tattoo of her boyfriend's name branded to her ass and is therefore stuck with him and his family, says no. As you may recall, back in December we reported that Hooper and her main man had hilariously started a business called Black Umbrella, a company that “builds practical, efficient disaster plans for individuals, couples and families,” in the event of any kind of disaster. And apparently this thing is really happening! Are you scared there might be an unexpected incident or that someone you share blood with will admit to doing something really bad? Hooper knows how you feel.
“Disaster can be a megadisaster like something that affects all of us,” said Ms Hooper, 38, a former partner in the Fifth Avenue fly-fishing store Urban Angler. “But it can also be something that happens in your own world, whether it’s an unexpected death in the family or” — and here she chose a euphemism — “this kind of thing.”
And she's here to help.
For $750, families can hire Ms. Hooper’s new company, Black Umbrella, to help them prepare for whatever kind of disaster might ensue. That basic package includes a sit-down session with a specialist to develop a family communication and reunification plan and four “go cards” — sleek aluminum wallet cards custom engraved with 22 contact numbers in the order in which they should be called. For $1,450, the advanced family-preparedness plan also provides someone to scan critical documents like passports and birth certificates and both store them on an encrypted flash drive and print them out for safekeeping someplace away from the client’s home. Also: one family-disaster practice run overseen by Black Umbrella, and even more go cards.
For the people who are either really worried about a disaster or really wealthy (or both), there is the $1,950 plan, with a specialist on call to “run family practices, refresh emergency supplies or replace any family plans to account for evolving circumstances,” according to the company’s Web site. And starting next year, the company will sell its Go Bag, a $250 backpack that turns into a sleeping bag and was designed by the artist Mary Mattingly.
And lest anyone be worried about handing their money over to a Madoff, Hooper would like to assure potential clients that Andy is basically just a glorified secretary.
In a brief interview at the company’s office, on the 21st floor of a skyscraper at 590 Madison Avenue, Mr. Madoff said he hoped his name would not hurt Ms. Hooper’s credibility. His Black Umbrella business cards say “Director of Operations,” but Ms. Hooper said he mostly helps with administrative tasks like payroll.