The Real Deal Miami

More Madoff victims quietly list homes

By Sally Apgar | March 05, 2009 02:21PM

For 12 years, Richard Schlanger invested with Bernie Madoff, the once scrappy Wall Street wizard now reviled as the evil architect of the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Today, Schlanger acknowledges that because of deep losses, “Madoff is a small part” of the reason he is downsizing and selling one of the most elegant homes in Jupiter’s exclusive Bears Club enclave for $11.25 million.

“A lot of people were destroyed,” said Schlanger. “I wasn’t destroyed. I was just dented.”

Schlanger, who built his fortune founding United Envelope and eventually selling it for over $100 million, won’t say how much he lost in the Madoff scam.

But in January he listed his 11,000-square-foot home on the fourth fairway of a Jack Nicklaus 18-hole golf course. The listing describes the home with its water views as the “best lot in Bears Club.”

“It’s a large house. Our kids don’t come down as much. We’re going to buy something smaller in the same community,” said Schlanger.

Referring to some of his neighbors, Schlanger said, “I know others who got hurt. But they weren’t destroyed. They were hit, but no one is on the breadlines.”

Although Palm Beach Island remains the posh pit of disaster for Madoff victims, there are quieter pockets of restrained woe clustered in nearby swank gated communities where the hyper-wealthy spend their winters or retirements.

Victims contemplate their financial losses at Bears Club and Admiral’s Cove, both in Jupiter. They also live — for now — in BallenIsles, in neighboring Palm Beach Gardens, home to three 18-hole golf courses. It once served as the qualifying course and headquarters for the PGA of America. (In addition to golf greats, this was also a playground said to be favored by Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Jackie Gleason).

Court and property records indicate more than a dozen Madoff victims have addresses here, including Madoff’s own financially ruined sister, Sondra Wiener, 74,  and her husband, Marvin.

Property records show that on December 19, barely a week after the scandal erupted, Madoff’s sister put her three-bedroom house on the market for $949,000. The house hasn’t moved despite a steep reduction to $799,000.

In November, the Wieners sold a second home they owned in BallenIsles for $250,000. That home was in the Sunset Cove section of BallenIsles, designed for the dollhouses of the wealthy: homes under $1 million that are either starters for young professionals or cozy snowbird retreats.

Other Madoff victims, who declined to comment for this story, have their BallenIsles homes for sale. For example, one four-bedroom jewel box recently came on the market for $1.25 million. In January, another home was listed for $550,000.

In Jupiter’s lush Admiral’s Cove, there are at least six victims listed in court records. One victim put his mansion on the market in January for $1.6 million.