Ian Urbina continues the New York Times' excellent coverage of the Bernie Made Off Madoff scandal with today's dispatch from Palm Beach Country Club:
But the mood was gloomiest at the country club where, people here said, at least a third of the 300 or so members had money invested with Mr. Madoff.
The shame of the Madoff scandal seemed especially bitter here in part because the club is known for its noblesse oblige in requiring members to give tens of thousands of dollars each year to charity.
The attention was also particularly unwelcome for a community whose grand homes sit hidden behind 20-foot-tall ficus hedges and steel gates.
In cultivating an aloof mystique, Mr. Madoff had fooled those who fancied themselves the wiser.
Typically, investors needed at least $1 million to approach Mr. Madoff. Being a member of this club also helped.
But even with those prerequisites, there was little guarantee that Mr. Madoff would take the client.
Looking out on the stunning beauty of the country club’s driving range, wedged between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, one club member commented that the outsiders of Mr. Madoff’s clique turned out to be the lucky ones.
“It’s funny how these things work out,” the member said, adding that he had never tried to invest with the firm because he did not like Mr. Madoff’s unwillingness to explain his methods.
Ross B. Intelisano, a lawyer representing a collection of its members, said he thought relations at the country club and on the island generally might never be the same again.
“He had this reputation that he’s one of these guys, that he’s what Wall Street’s all about,” he said about Mr. Madoff. “It’s all about a handshake, and people trusted him.”
That sort of trust may be gone now, Mr. Intelisano said.
“People may not really trust the guys they play golf with,” he said.
Just wondering out loud here: with Madoff's close ties to golf, has anyone heard of any major golf organizations or charities that might have invested their extra funds with the man?
Oh, and thanks to readering Jeff for Joe Weisenthal's blog post on the remarkably consistent Mr. Madoff, who stopped posting scores eight years ago. Still look how steady his was. Just like those steady returns he promised.