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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mort Zuckerman’

Former 5th Av. Synagogue President Returns $410 Million to Madoff Victims

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Former money manager J. Ezra Merkin has agreed to turn over hundreds of millions of dollars to duped investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

More than 30 charities invested with Merkin, many of them with a Jewish affiliation.

The NY Post reported at the time that members of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue, where Merkin served as president, “suffered a $2 billion bloodbath.” Madoff, a non-member, was introduced to them by President Merkin.

Those victims included Ira Rennert, Mort Zuckerman, and Elie Wiesel.

In a settlement announced Monday by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Merkin agreed to pay $405 million to compensate investors over a three-year period, and $5 million to the State of New York to cover fees and costs. It is the first settlement resulting from a government action against Merkin.

A close business associate of Madoff’s, Merkin controlled four funds that invested more than $2 billion with Madoff on behalf of hundreds of investors, including many New Yorkers and charitable organizations.

While investors in Ariel Fund Ltd., Gabriel Capital LP, Ascot Fund Ltd and Ascot Partners LP, whose assets were largely handled by Madoff, lost in excess of $1.2 billion, Merkin received hundreds of millions of dollars in management fees.

“By holding Mr. Merkin accountable, this settlement will help bring justice for the people and institutions that lost millions of dollars,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

According to the statement, for nearly two decades Merkin presented himself as a skilled money manager and used his social and charitable connections to raise more than $4 billion from hundreds of individuals, charities and other investors. Merkin turned over to Madoff all of the money in the Ascot Funds, and a substantial portion of the Ariel and Gabriel Funds.

In misleading offering documents and quarterly reports, Merkin concealed Madoff’s role and misrepresented the role he was playing in managing the funds, the statement said. Acting primarily as a marketer and middleman, Merkin obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in management and incentive fees from his investors.

Investors could recover more than 40 percent of their cash losses. Investors who were not aware of Madoff’s role will receive a higher percentage of their losses, while those who were aware of Madoff’s role will be eligible to receive a smaller percentage.

Among the victims, according to The Associated Press, were the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, New York Law School, Bard College, Harlem Children’s Zone and Homes for the Homeless.

Merkin also is being pursued by Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee charged with returning money to Madoff’s victims. Picard is trying to retrieve $500 million from Merkin and the funds.

Picard has entered agreements to recover $9 billion, more than half the cash claims related to the $64 billion Ponzi scheme.

JTA contributed to this article.

Mort Zuckerman, Are You Listening?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2001

Several days ago, in the course of talking about the New York mayoral race, Daily News columnist E.R. Shipp noted the flap last year over Hillary Clinton's being endorsed by a Muslim group and the hullabaloo surrounding a Hamas group's endorsement of Mark Green. Ms. Shipp then went on to observe:

Why, pray tell, does one give a hoot about Israel and Palestine when one is trying to become New York City's Mayor? Why, pray tell, does one care about which side is the more terrorist, the Israelis or the Palestinians? Why pray tell, does this have anything to do with whether my garbage is picked up, the cops are shooting my neighbors or empty buildings are transformed into spaces that my friends and I might want to live in?…I couldn't care less whether the Muslims who want Green for mayor because he can perhaps deliver city services also hate Israel. That's between them and Israel….

In truth, we here at The Jewish Press have often remarked about how aspirants for local political office pander to certain voter groups about issues they can do nothing about. Most recently, we addressed this point in connection with the tuition voucher issue. And we are not all that sure that a candidate should automatically be excoriated because of an unsolicited endorsement.

But as an organ of the Jewish community, we take offense at the way Ms. Shipp made her point. Ms. Shipp is African-American and we have no doubt about what she would say if a candidate for New York City office would be endorsed by, say, the White Power Party or the Ku Klux Klan or whatever party David Duke heads up. Nor would she be so dismissive about the government of South Africa as she was about Israel.

Giving “a hoot about Israel and Palestine”? …”Which side is the more terrorist, the Israelis or Palestinians”? … “Whether the Muslims who want Green for mayor … also hate Israel … that's between them and Israel”? This is the way a serious columnist writes?

There may be some question about what a candidate should or should not do about an endorsement. But one thing is certain. Ms. Shipp's piece revealed a lot more about her than about Mrs. Clinton and Mark Green.

Mort Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News, is the recently elected Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Despite our firm belief in journalistic freedom, we believe this gross example of journalistic license must be addressed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/mort-zuckerman-are-you-listening/2001/08/22/

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