Bintel Blog

Big Donor Gone Bad?

By Gabrielle Birkner

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Wall Street trader Bernard L. Madoff, who stands accused of defrauding investors of an estimated $50 billion, is a major donor to Jewish causes.

Until this morning, Madoff is had been listed as the treasurer of Yeshiva University’s board of trustees. He also had been the chairman of the university’s Sy Syms School of Business.

He and his wife, Ruth, sponsor a Presidential Fellow in the Office of Academic Affairs, Institutional Research at YU. Presidential fellows spend a post-graduation year working in various capacities at the university.

The Madoffs are listed as 92nd Street Y “Benefactors,” denoting a gift of between $2,500 and $4,999 to the 2006/2007 annual campaign.

And in 2006, following the death of the Madoffs’ nephew, the UJA-Federation placed a death notice in the New York Times — extending sympathies to the Madoff family, and mentioning Bernard Madoff by name. That death notice referred to the family as “cherished friends and leaders whose deep commitment to the New York Jewish community profoundly impacts millions of lives.” (Translation: big donors.)

A lawyer for Madoff told the Wall Street Journal: “Bernard Madoff is a longstanding leader in the financial-services industry with an unblemished record. He is a person of integrity. He intends to fight to get through this unfortunate event.”


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