Fairfield Greenwich Inauguration Story Still Makes No Sense

The Journal follows up on the story of the would-be inauguration goers whose dreams were dashed by the Madoff scandal. As we noted yesterday, something here doesn’t make sense. A charity claims it bought inauguration packages last summer from Fairfield Greenwich, which it then auctioned on eBay. What was Fairfield Greenwich doing selling access to the inauguration?:

WSJ: Philip Schein, December Rain’s executive director, said he hoped to auction the inaugural packets to raise money for the charity. He said he also wanted to bring December Rain representatives to Washington.

Mr. Schein said he got the idea from acquaintances who were investors with Connecticut-based investment firm Fairfield Greenwich, a firm which, in turn, invested with Mr. Madoff.

Mr. Schein said the Fairfield Greenwich investors told him, “We have access and connections and we can get you inauguration tickets if you want to auction those.”

Mr. Schein said he paid the investors “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for tickets to about a dozen events.

Given that last summer nobody knew who was going to win, how would anyone be in position to sell access to inauguration parties for “hundreds of thousands of dollars”? And what kind of use of charity funds is that? And was it Fairfield selling the tickets, or Fairfield Investors, or did Fairfield Investors just give Mr. Schein the idea?

And then this:

Mr. Schein promised to reimburse auction winners. But last week the charity closed its offices because it has received death threats from some auction winners, Mr. Schein said.

Really, ticket buyers sent in death threats after having been told they would be reimbursed?

Commenters in our last post did some good sleuthing, and wonder if December Rain is a legitimate charity. Among the inconsistencies — the two articles give two different names for December Rain’s executive directors. We’ll lob in some calls today, but for now we’ll stand behind our initial hunch that for all their faults, it doesn’t make sense that Fairfield screwed anyone over here.

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