After 60-odd years in New York, clever Ruth Madoff suddenly says her primary residence is her $9 million Palm Beach mansion.
Why would she do that?
The Florida constitution just has that special something.
Bloomberg: Bernard Madoff’s wife has declared her Palm Beach, Florida, estate as her primary residence, a move that may shield the $9.4 million home from creditors.
Ruth Madoff applied for and received a homestead exemption for property taxes, said Dorothy Jacks, assistant property appraiser for Palm Beach County. The Florida constitution protects homeowners who have obtained the exemption and seizing the property may be difficult, said Danaya Wright, a law professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The U.S. government said this week it plans to seize assets including the Madoffs’ $7 million Manhattan apartment and the Palm Beach home. Bernard Madoff, 70, was jailed March 12 after admitting to masterminding the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. The exemption Ruth Madoff received may be an effort to protect the property from creditors, said Jack McCabe, founder of McCabe Research & Consulting LLC in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
“The two big drawing cards to Florida were sunshine and affordability,” McCabe said. “Now it’s for sunshine and the protection of your primary mansion.”
And when did Ruth develop this sudden hankering to live in the Sunshine State?
She applied for the tax exemption Sept. 18 and received it Jan. 12, according to the appraiser’s office.
In other words, about three months before Madoff’s Ponzi scheme unravelled.