The Real Deal New York

Mapping Madoff victims by building

Ponzi scam victims concentrated at posh addresses

March 31, 2009
By C. J. Hughes

Go to map: A sample of buildings hit by Madoff’s scam

When a New York federal bankruptcy court unveiled the list of victims who had been swindled by Ponzi scammer Bernard Madoff, the names read like a Who’s Who of senators, actors, sports figures and business executives.

Indeed, much has been made of the stature of some of the 13,567 people and entities listed on the 162-page document.

What hasn’t attracted attention here, however, is the concentration of Manhattan buildings the New York victims own apartments in — as a primary residence, second home or investment property.

While a great deal has been written about the Madoff victims selling their homes in Palm Beach and other parts of Florida, so far the Madoff-related selling in New York has been done under the radar. But brokers say it is starting to ramp up.

As has been reported, the list shows that many of the victims have apartments clustered on the wealthy Upper East Side, particularly in the 10021 zip code, which runs roughly from East 60th to 80th streets, and which appeared in 256 entries. Yet there are some buildings that stand to suffer more than others.

In some cases, individual buildings list multiple entries for the same name, making it difficult to tell whether they represent one or many victims. For example, unit 2L at 205 East 78th Street, a 20-story Art Deco co-op, has nine separate entries, yet it likely represents only one individual or family who lost money in the scam.

At 215 East 68th Street, a Rudin-owned rental building with 600 units, five unique surnames are listed in the database. (The building is home to former Mayor David Dinkins.)

Meanwhile, a few blocks away at 220 East 72nd Street, a 196-unit rental owned by Urbana Properties, where a three-bedroom was recently listed for $10,650 a month, also has four Madoff victims.

Just outside the 10021 zip code, at 1185 Park Avenue between 92nd and 93rd streets, three names are listed.

The 10022 zip code, Midtown East, also appears to have a high concentration of Madoff victims, but it may be a false hot spot because some of the 404 entries are offices, not homes. In fact, 885 Third Avenue, otherwise known as the Lipstick Building, which housed Madoff’s own office, turns up in multiple entries on the bankruptcy court list.

Many victims also appear to reside at Sutton Place. For instance, at 50 Sutton Place South, a 22-story red-brick co-op, seven families were swindled, the data indicate.

At the nearby Bristol at 300 East 56th Street, a 33-story white-brick rental owned by Glenwood, four victims are listed.

By comparison, no other Manhattan neighborhood had large concentrations in any buildings. Even along Central Park West and Central Park South, which are prized Manhattan addresses, the victims tend to be spread out.

Another prestigious address mentioned is 860-870 United Nations Plaza, a multi-building co-op, with victims at both addresses.

Soho and Tribeca, in contrast, came out relatively unscathed. In Tribeca’s affluent 10013 zip code, for example, only three victims are listed.

What’s not clear is if the named residents will be forced to sell their units or break leases now that they’ve lost a chunk of their savings. Almost no current listings from the city’s top brokerages match the unit numbers enumerated in the bankruptcy court’s list.

But both Jacky Teplitzky and Dolly Lenz from Prudential Douglas Elliman have said several of their clients have backed out of deals after losing money with Madoff.

Barbara Fox, president of Fox Residential Group, has one Manhattan client who, because of a Madoff financial loss, is selling a unit. But, sounding a common refrain, Fox said she must protect her client’s identity and can’t specify exactly where the client lives because there’s so much shame attached to the episode.

Also, “There’s a stigma attached to having to sell out of desperation, like a fire-sale, because it makes buyers think the sellers will take less money,” Fox adds.

An exception seems to be Unit 3E at 211 Central Park West, the Beresford, which was recently listed with the Corcoran Group’s Maria Pashby for $7.95 million (the price has since been cut to $6.95 million), according to the Online Residential database. That same apartment shows up on the bankruptcy court list as having been owned by an Anne Strickland Squadron, who was married to the late Howard Squadron, a lawyer for media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

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