Bernie Madoff’s reach has extended to one very elite temple on New York’s Upper East Side: Fifth Avenue Synagogue.
The security is beyond tight both inside and outside at all times. We’ve barely been able to walk down the sidewalk in front of it, especially during the High Holidays, and when we went there once to attend a Bris we barely made it past the guards. But this couldn’t stop Bernie, who was not a member, from getting his hands on the congregants’ money.
NY Post: The synagogue was a breeding ground for Madoff investors given that its president, J. Ezra Merkin, reportedly served as a powerful recruiter for the alleged scamster.
…Merkin had $1.8 billion wrapped up with the shady investor through his fund, Ascot Partners – in many cases, without his clients’ knowledge.
Other prominent Fifth Avenue Synagogue members who took a bath include Elie Wiesel, the author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose foundation lost $37 million, and investment banker Michael Jesselson, whose SAR Academy, an Orthodox Jewish school in The Bronx, took a $1.3 million hit, Fortune reported.
Almost a dozen prominent families of the synagogue – the favoured New York house of worship for former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – sustained heavy losses in the Madoff madness, one congregant estimated.
…Ira Rennert, chairman of the synagogue’s board and owner of the priciest mansion in the Hamptons, had $200 million staked in Madoff’s fund, Fortune magazine reported.
He was one of at least 10 synagogue heavy hitters fleeced in the scandal, said a prominent congregant.
One famous member who wasn’t taken for a ride: Revlon CEO Ronald Perelman. We’re betting his ex-wives are both happy and sad about that.