by Joseph Patrick Shea
December 21, 2010
SANTA FE, N.M.. Dec. 11, 2010 -- Mark Madoff, 46, eldest son of convicted Wall Street scam-meister Bernie Madoff was found dead this morning. It looks like he killed himself.
Now, two weeks before Christmas comes the ultimate test of Judeo-Christian charity: Do you open the bars of his father's home - a prison cell for the next century-and-a-half - to allow him to attend his son's funeral, or do you let him rot in prison hell?
My wife says let him rot. My friends say let him rot. My public relations and Greek Tragedy nerve says "Let him out for a day."
Observant Jews usually bury their dead within 24 hours. A decision would have to be made quickly.
Aside from David Letterman's Late Night "Countdown" Madoff Prison Clock, not too many media folks pay much attention anymore to Madoff's $50 billion-plus Ponzi scheme. Madoff out-Ponzied Mr. Ponzi.
Perhaps the paparazzi frenzy at graveside is what the world needs to see as a father buries one of the two sons who allegedly blew the whistle on his ghost investment account schemes.
Has Bernie suffered enough? Is publicity irrelevant? Is compassion a non-starter?
Let the reader decide, from what is known now:
Could the kids take millions of dollars, working on a different floor of the Madoff empire, running the daily broker-dealer arm of the empire with no knowledge of the decades of scam and scandals? I am not privy to the answer.
Remember Enron's Ken Lay? He said he was hired at Enron to work with charities, the ballet, the art league, United Way, and be the face of the company, while unbeknownst to him his aides blew money through overseas shells. Maybe yes, maybe no.
Mark Madoff's apparent suicide was "the ultimate admission of guilt," according to one Wall Street veteran to whom I broke the news.
My own response to his comment was "...or the ultimate act of depression caused by his father?"