'We Were De-Splendored'

Ruth Madoff
AP
Ruth Madoff

As the trustee representing victims of Bernard Madoff seek tens of millions of dollarsmore from his wife, Ruth, Madoff victim Nancy Barrie-Chivian tries to, well, at least laugh a little in the face of despair.

Here's part of her latest "Dear Ruthie" letters, which also takes a shot at Irving Picard:

Dear Ruthie -

Where have you been? Did you enter the Witness Protection Program or something? I hear you have not been to Butner to visit Bernie. Also, that you're being sued for $45 million (!) by Irving Picard, who, as you know, (unless you've been in a coma since January) is the trustee for the bankruptcy. Since you could keep only $2.5 million, this is troubling. Where on earth would you dig up $45 million?

Anyway, Picard, trying to recover funds for defrauded investors (remember me?), wants the US attorney's office to give him cash, not the actual assets you forfeited. No yacht, no fur, etc. Right? So in case they don't agree, Picard's going after you personally, perhaps on the hunch you have money stashed away? (Or is he trying to show angry victims that he's worth the $14 million he billed SIPC, who says they don't have enough money to pay all the claims?) Picard says you received many millions from BLMIS, enabling you to live a 'life of splendor'. We were de-splendored while you were over-splendored. But no hard feelings, here; I just want my money back. That would be splendid.

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And the day before Picard's suit, the curtain rises on a trial lawyer from San Francisco, Joseph Cotchett, who, with great fanfare, gets an interview with your husband in prison! Bernie has agreed to it, ostensibly, because Cotchett threatened to sue you and other family members (you poor thing, you are being so used!) on behalf of a dozen victims/clients--which turns out to be only one: a retired school teacher. Bernie, in keeping with his theme: Love is a many splendored thing, does what he must to protect you. What a guy. He reveals to them how the fraud was committed. At least that’s what Cotchett said. And you know these attorneys. Cotchett tells reporters of Bernie’s surprise at getting away with the scam for so long, which was due to the regulators not paying attention. Imagine that!...

Oh, in case you did not hear, they say Bernie looks pretty buff; he's been working out. You must feel a pang of irony that after 47 years, when taken away from you, there's a chance he's become at all attractive. Indulge yourself: go have a conjugal visit!

As ever - with far less ... Nancy Barrie-Chivian

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