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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Fairfield Greenwich Investors Say:

Show Us The Money

It has become the biggest mystery to emerge from the $50 billion Bernard Madoff scandal:

Where did the money go?

Federal investigators are likely to take months trying to answer Fairfield Greenwich Investor's questions as they dig through the disgraced ponzie schemer's records and attempt to unravel what may be the biggest financial fraud in history.

But several theories are being discussed among financial experts and at Greenwich hedge fund watercoolers, the town's Country clubs and the offices of local accounting professionals.

Among the theories: Madoff lost a bundle in bad investments; paid some of the money out to investors; stashed cash in foreign banks; and spent some on his lavish lifestyle. There is also the possibility he inflated his claim of $50 billion in losses.

Fairfield Greenwich Investors, who lost money with Greenwich resident Walter Noel, say that Madoff has plenty of houses and yachts, but not certainly enough to account for all this money.

It is tough if not impossible to really lose 100 % of the $50 Billion.

Bernard Madoff, 70, a former Nasdaq stock market chairman, has become one of the most vilified people in America since news broke Dec. 11 that he allegedly had been running a giant Ponzi scheme, paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from others.

So far, investors have said that they have lost more than $30 billion, according to an Associated Press calculations.

Here are some possible scenarios:

TRADED AWAY: What's unclear at this point of the investigation is when the scheme began, but reports have indicated that it had been going on for decades. In the criminal complaint against Madoff, he told investigators that he "had personally traded and lost money for institutional clients, and that it was all his fault."

That suggests he may have blown investors' money through a failed trading strategy, and at some point felt compelled to cover up the mistakes.

LOST IN THE FINANCIAL MELTDOWN: Madoff's scheme was partly undone by this year's crisis in the stock and credit markets. The Dow has lost nearly 36 percent since the start of this year, and the credit market has largely been frozen.

In the complaint, Madoff said that investors were seeking approximately $7 billion in redemptions. Madoff boasted of producing returns of about 10 percent for years, so individual investors who were getting battered in other parts of their portfolio might have taken some of those purported Madoff profits off the table.

At the same time, hedge funds were facing an unprecedented run on redemptions from their own investors. That meant the hedge funds may have had to quickly extract cash from their Madoff positions in order to pay their own investors back.
New York Post, NY - Jan 10, 2009
Of the $50 billion Bernard Madoff swindled, investigators have been able to uncover only about $1 billion in remaining assets.

If the number holds, that means the recovery of money from his massive Ponzi scheme may total only 2 percent of what his victims gave him.
So far, the trustee liquidating Madoff's firm has found $830 million in liquid assets. When the value of Madoff's real-estate holdings, boats, jewelry and other property is factored in, the figure rises to approximately $1 billion, according to Bloomberg News.
Madoff coughed up a list of his holdings when prosecutors demanded he be jailed without bail after he tried to send $1 million in jewelry to family and friends.
US Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis yesterday considered arguments on whether Madoff, 70, should be allowed to remain under house arrest at his swanky East Side penthouse or be thrown in jail.

Ellis is set to deliver his ruling Monday at noon, officials said.
Prosecutors also received a 30-day extension yesterday to indict the alleged scammer after reaching a deal with the defense team.

The list of Madoff's alleged victims include some of the world's wealthiest people and the most sophisticated investment funds. One of his most high-profile victims, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, called the swindle "extremely painful and humiliating for me."
"It has done extraordinary damage to my philanthropy," he told CNBC.

Katzenberg, who runs Dreamworks Animation, would not say how much money he lost, but the Los Angeles Times has reported it was at least $20 million.
Katzenberg, 58, had his funds invested with Madoff through his business manager, Gerald Breslauer, the LA Times reported.

"The first time I heard the name Bernie Madoff was about three weeks ago, when I found out that, you know, he had swindled all this money," Katzenberg said.
In other developments, a Massachusetts-based hedge fund, GMB Capital Management, said it was shutting down a fund that was bilked out of more than $50 million by Madoff.

Also, investigators in Britain were trying to determine whether Madoff embezzled $150 million from his company's operation there.

And Austria's Bank Medici, which may have invested as much as $3 billion with Madoff, announced it was restructuring its board of directors and business strategy following the massive swindle.
Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

12/23/08 Do You Want To Invest With A Big Loser From Greenwich?

Jeffrey Gendell Tries To Pull Greenwich Based
Tortine Associates From The Scrap Heap

Fool Me Once - Shame On Jeffery
Fool Me Twice - Shame On Me

Tontine Capital to Start New Hedge Fund After Losses Topped 60% This Year

By Saijel Kishan and Katherine Burton


Jeffrey Gendell, whose investment firm Tontine Associates LLC is liquidating two hedge funds after losses of more than 60 percent this year, plans to start a new fund in February.
The Tontine Total Return Fund will invest in stocks believed to be undervalued and won’t use borrowed money, Gendell said in a letter to investors. Steve Bruce, a spokesman for Greenwich, Connecticut-based Tontine, declined to comment.

Tontine, started by Gendell 12 years ago, had been one of the industry’s best performers, with its four funds returning an average of 38 percent annually since inception through 2007. The firm last month said it was unwinding Tontine Capital Partners LP, a fund that plunged 77 percent this year through October, and Tontine Partners LP, which fell 67 percent through September.

I would be very surprised if people allocated new capital with him after such losses,” said Graziano Lusenti, founder of Nyon, Switzerland-based Lusenti Partners LLC, an investment adviser.

Gendell isn’t the first to seek investments for new funds after losing money for clients. Nicholas Maounis, whose hedge- fund firm Amaranth Advisors LLC collapsed under a record $6.6 billion loss in 2006, started a new fund in October.

Tontine said existing clients who choose to invest in the new fund will pay a management fee of 1 percent and won’t be charged an incentive fee until their losses are recouped.

New investors will be charged fees of 1 percent of assets and 20 percent of investment gains, compared with the industry- standard of 2 percent of assets and 20 percent of profits.
‘Old-Fashioned’ Investing

We believe old-fashioned stock picking will return to the forefront and the next several years will bring extraordinary investment opportunities,” Gendell said in the Dec. 9 letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Hedge funds are private, largely unregulated pools of capital. They are reeling from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, losing an average of 18 percent this year through November, according to data compiled by Hedge Fund Research Inc. Equity hedge funds have slumped 26 percent this year, the Chicago-based research firm said.

Gendell, a former sports reporter for the Associated Press, previously worked as head of stock investing at Odyssey Partners LP, an early hedge fund started by the late Jack Nash whose alumni include John Paulson of Paulson & Co.


Here is the hedge fund letters from Jeffrey Gendell of
Tontine Partners


#1062 Jeffrey Gendell - Forbes.com
Jeffrey Gendell ranks 1062 on The World's Billionaires 2008


Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

12/23/08 “You’d have to be a moron not to ask for a discount,” said Stephen Hoch, a retailing expert at the Wharton School Of Business

Associated Press Photo
How are your haggling skills?
Desperate retailers more open to haggling this year
Retailers giving added discounts, but you have to ask
Let Us Show You How To Haggle For A Better Holiday Price

If you’re looking for an extra bargain before the holidays, you may only have to ask.
With holiday sales shaping up to be the lowest in years, possibly the worst since the industry began annual comparisons in 1969, retailers say they’re taking consumers’ demands for good deals seriously. Some are extending return policies, while others are matching competitors’ prices. Many are volunteering on-the-spot discounts and even letting customers haggle prices well down from what’s marked in a desperate bid to make the cash register ring.

... better deals. Jill duPont, the owner of a small women's clothing and accessories boutique called Out of the Box in Greenwich, Conn., said she's felt some pressure to mark her prices down to be competitive with others. 'Customers aren't shy about ...
....Jill duPont, the owner of a small women’s clothing and accessories boutique called Out of the Box in Greenwich, Conn., said she’s felt some pressure to mark her prices down to be competitive with others.
“Customers aren’t shy about telling us ’what a good price’ they found somewhere else,” she said.

For some retailers, desperation is setting in. The new year brings new inventory, so retailers typically try to clear out the old stock by year’s end. Stores are increasingly willing to do whatever they can to get rid of merchandise – even offering discounts on the spot.....
The art of the haggle
With only three more shopping days left before Christmas, retailers are becoming more willing to negotiate on prices or extend their return policies to offer consumers a better deal and boost their sales.
Retail analysts say shoppers have the upper hand this year due to sliding sales at retailers. Despite big discounts, sales are still projected to be the worst in years.
Experts say to research competitors’ prices, since many chains are willing to match the lowest price. Also, be willing to ask for a better price from a manager.
Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

12/23/08 Failed School Administrators And Officials At Work: "Since the TCO wasn't received, some questions".. Does Anyone Know Whats Going To Happen?

GIGO = Garbage In, Garbage Out

Betty Sternberg, BOE Members and Hamilton Avenue School Principal Rau demonstrate how important this famous slogan in computing sums up the importance of accurate data in email communications.

We got a series of edited emails about Hamilton Avenue School from a Board Of Education member or a staff member or a PTA member or a parent who are disgusted with the conflicting information that is coming from the failed school administrators and school officials.


The single family home owners of Greenwich are paying big bucks for this failed leadership and confusion. Many taxpayer can't wait for the next school board election.

Subject: Since the TCO wasn't received, some questions...
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 15:54:21 -0800

Dr. Sternberg, Members of the Board, Dr. Rau:

Since we did not receive the TCO today I would like to know the reasoning behind the decision as to why we must wait for April.

I would like to know how that date became the fall-back and what input was received and by whom to reach such a decision.

Please respond at your earliest convenience.

I wish you all a very happy holiday and a safe New Year.


More Board Of Education Emails To Follow

Please send your comments, BOE public documents and emails to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

Or you may click on the comments link at the end of this post.

12/23/08 Principal Damaris Rau Response Causes Confusion

Hamilton Avenue School Principal Damaris Rau
Apparently Is Not In The Loop

She Really Appears Not To Know What Is Going On.
No date for moving has been discussed as a fall back date.

At the last PTA meeting, Dr. Sternberg and I agreed to meet mid January
with parents to begin discussions re. the next move.

Dr. Damaris Rau
Hamilton Avenue School
1 Western Junior Highway
Greenwich, CT 06830

So Hamilton Avenue School Principal Damaris Rau
Is Clueless And Has No Idea What The Next Move Is

Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

12/23/08 A Hamilton Avenue School Parent Response To Principal Rau's Clueless Email

Hamilton Avenue School Parents Want To Be Informed

Why Aren't Hamilton Avenue Parents And The Single Family Home Owners Who Are Paying For This Fiasco Being Informed Of The Latest Board Of Education Plans ?????

Subject: RE: Since the TCO wasn't received, some questions...
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 17:44:13 -0800

Damaris -

On a televised BOE meeting, Chairwoman Weissler stated that if the TCO was not received in time for a move over the holiday break, then the move would happen in April. She was also quoted in the Greenwich Time and the Greenwich Post saying the same thing.

You also stated at the November PTA Meeting that if the TCO wasn't received as noted above then the move wouldn't happen until April. As I was unable to attend the December meeting and have not seen any minutes from it, nor was there any mention of further discussions in our weekly Headlines, I am asking for clarification on the date last publicized.

If that changed since the last BOE meeting/PTA Meeting I would have liked to see a notice of such go out to the parents.

Please send your comments, BOE emails and public documents about Hamilton Avenue School to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

Or you can comment by clicking on the "Comments" link at the end of this post

12/23/08 BOE Chairwoman Nancy Weissler Response Is That I Just Told The Greenwich Time - Forget About April - We Have To Listen What Mazza Wants To Do

The Single Family Home Owners Are Begging Nancy To Stop Asking Frank Mazza For Advice.
They Want Frank Mazza To Resign !!!!!

Failed School Board Chairwoman Nancy Weissler Says.....
"Frank Please Help Me I Don't Know What To Tell The Greenwich Time."
Frank Mazza And His Band Of Idiots Say .....
"Nancy You Want A Date That Hamilton Avenue School Will Open - No Problem. Got A Million Dates August 25,2008, Columbus day, Tanksgiving, December 5, 2008, Christmas, January 5, 2009. How about next year's April Fools Day?"

To: damaris_rau@greenwich.k12.ct.us

Subject: Re: Since the TCO wasn't received, some questions...
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008 21:21:03 -0500

From: nvoye@aol.com

CC: betty_sternberg@greenwich.k12.ct.us ; jcohen@ticc.com ; lesliemori@aol.com ; mpclake@optonline.net ; michaelbodson@yahoo.com ; nqueen124@aol.com ; andersonsb@optonline.net ; sellis6@optimum.net ; carol_desalvo@greenwich.k12.ct.us

I just received a call from the Greenwich Times today on this point. I told them that it would seem to make most sense to first get an update from the Building Committee at their meeting the week of Jan. 5th as to the timing of the replacement of the flue pipe. Once that information is available, we can then consider the various options as to the timing of the HAS move.


Please send your comments, BOE emails and Hamilton Avenue School public documents to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

Or you can comment by clicking on the "Comments" link at the end of this post

Or you can send emails to betty_sternberg@greenwich.k12.ct.us ; jcohen@ticc.com ; lesliemori@aol.com ; mpclake@optonline.net ; michaelbodson@yahoo.com ; nqueen124@aol.com ; andersonsb@optonline.net ; sellis6@optimum.net ; carol_desalvo@greenwich.k12.ct.us and nvoye@aol.com that say, "For the good of the town PLEASE RESIGN NOW !!!!! We can no longer afford failed school administrators and officials"

12/23/08 Failed School Superintendent Betty Sternberg's Response Is: Hey I Am Clueless Too. I Haven't A Clue When Hamilton Avenue School Will Open.

Betty Changes Her Tune:

I Don't Know What To Do
I'll Be Gone In June
HAS Will Have To Be Solved By You

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2008

Subject: Re: Since the TCO wasn't received, some questions...

None of us are happy about this situation. It is difficult for us to make
a call until we have further information about the status of the open
items in the building. I know that Mrs. Weissler, the Board, Dr. Rau and
I are respectful of the parent's interest in moving into the building as
quickly as possible provided we can be sure of the safety of the students.

We are also concerned about the impact of the move on the student's
achievement. In short, the situation changes continually and none of us
are in the position at this moment to determine the next move date with

As my comment says on the website, we will reassess in early
January. Please be assured that we all are trying to do the best that we
can under the circumstances.


Dr. Betty J. Sternberg
Superintendent of Schools
290 Greenwich Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
Tel: (203) 625-7425

Please send your comments, BOE emails and Hamilton Avenue School Public Documents to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

12/23/08 Greenwich Time News Links

(Helen Neafsey/Greenwich Time photo)

Federal environmental officials awaiting Greenwich sewer report
Federal officials are awaiting a report on the Dec. 12 sewer main break at Sound Shore Avenue, which sent still-untold millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Mianus River over the next four days.
A Jan. 16 probable cause hearing has been scheduled for a former Byram pharmacist arrested after his place of business was raided by the FBI in September.

Town gas finally falls below $2 a gallon
Long home to some of Connecticut's highest gas prices, Greenwich can celebrate the arrival of an important benchmark: under-$2 a gallon gas.
After a semester of highs and lows, buying and selling, four Greenwich High School teens outperformed the S&P 500 by 185 percent to take first place in the Stock Market Game.

Dems, Rell clash over special session
HARTFORD - Democratic leaders of the General Assembly don't seem to be on the same page when it comes to Gov.
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Stamford is attempting to mend fences with the head of the state Democratic Party.
Please send your comments to GreenwichRoundup@gmail.com

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