Passover is icumen in:
On that note now I will begin,
And also end upon that note,
and not the “only kidding” goat.
Many people who’ve been laid off
blame it all on Bernie Madoff,
though the person who’s been jerkin’
them around was Ezra Merkin.
Fraud when only civil is
like champagne once it’s lost it’s fizz,
no longer fun, it tastes as flat
as Jewish heads without a hat.
In our portions make the choice
to thank Almighty and rejoice,
since more mighty than the dollar
is the perpetrator’s collar.
Not only fools rush to condemn
J. Ezra’s chillul of Hashem:
some wise men, too, are asking why
their chaver chapped them with a lie.
The answer, friends, is blowin’ in
the wind. For wealthy people sin
is unimportant, being owners
of mansions, and respected donors
to charities, but do not lean
on them as in the seder scene
we lean when drinking wine. Let’s feed ’em
to hedge funds in our Feast of Freedom.
For Ezra Merkin, famous feeder
of funds here is my interpleader:
give him four cups of wine, then try him,
and when it’s over say le’chaim.
In the same issue of WSJ, April 7, in which Ira Stoll wrote a depressing article by Ira Stoll, “Anti-Semitism and the Economic Crisis Liz Rappaport reports about the civil suit Andrew Cuomo, the Attorney-General of NY has filed against J. Ezra Merkin.
J. Ezra Merkin, a money manager who funneled $2.4 billion from universities and nonprofit organizations into Bernard Madoff's firm, was charged Monday on allegations he 'betrayed hundreds of investors' by repeatedly lying to them about how he invested their money. Mr. Merkin, a New York philanthropic leader and the former chairman of finance company GMAC, raised billions of dollars for his three hedge funds, telling clients he was managing the money himself. But instead, according to a civil fraud complaint filed by New York state's attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, Mr. Merkin collected hundreds of millions of dollars in fees over more than a decade while weaving a 'panoply of lies' to conceal that he was channeling much of his clients' funds to Mr. Madoff…
Mr. Merkin told some investors he had 60% of his own family's trusts in the Ascot fund, the complaint alleges. But all told, Mr. Merkin invested personally and through family trusts and foundations $7 million in Ascot through 1998, and less than $2 million over the following 10 years. In a presentation to a nonprofit investor, Mr. Merkin said that only 15% of the Ascot fund was invested with Mr. Madoff, according to the complaint, which includes more than 100 pages of emails, presentations and other documents. Mr. Merkin told other investors that Morgan Stanley was his main relationship for prime brokerage services, which involve back-office account management. That was untrue, says the complaint. Morgan Stanley declined to comment. Mr. Merkin also told investors in his other two funds, Gabriel and Ariel, that he was investing in distressed assets and bankruptcies, when he actually transferred large portions of those funds' money to Mr. Madoff starting in about 2000, the complaint says. Mr. Madoff's supposed strategy involved stocks and stock options, not distressed assets. The complaint also alleged Mr. Merkin ignored several warning signs about Mr. Madoff's investing returns. In the early 1990s, Victor Teicher, a money manager who had worked for Mr. Merkin, told him not to invest with Mr. Madoff because the steady returns he claimed to produce were impossible, according to the complaint. Mr. Teicher declined to comment. Mr. Merkin also kept in his files two 2001 news articles questioning the steadiness of Mr. Madoff's returns - one published in Barron's and one by a hedge-fund newsletter called MARHedge, according to the complaint.