Jeffry Picower signed his will just 10 days before he suffered a heart attack in the family pool.
It leaves the bulk of his more than $1 billion estate to charity.
But Bernie Madoff trustee Irving Picard hopes to see the first payday. The Picower family continues to appear anxious to settle with Picard.
NYT: Although Mr. Picower’s will, which is expected to be filed on Tuesday, leaves the bulk of the estate to charity, that amount depends on how much his family pays to settle legal claims brought by the trustee gathering assets for Mr. Madoff’s victims.
But the estate is clearly large enough to add at least several billion dollars to the $1.4 billion that the trustee has gathered so far. The trustee, Irving H. Picard, estimates that the cash losses in the enormous Ponzi scheme total at least $21 billion.
Mr. Picard has demanded the return of $7 billion he says Mr. Picower and his wife withdrew from their Madoff accounts over several decades. Lawyers for the Picowers say they withdrew $2.4 billion during the six-year recovery period allowed for the trustee’s claims under New York State law and contend that should be the limit of Mr. Picard’s claim.
Before the Madoff scandal made them near-household names, the Picowers were very private, but very prominent, philanthropist. The charitable bequests in the will include:
- $1 million for the New York Public Library
- $1 million for the Harlem Children’s Zone
- $1 million for the Nurse-Family Partnership
- $1 million each in first year following Picower’s death to four scientists researching Parkinson’s
- $25 million in first year following Picower’s death to Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT
- Remainder of estate, after distributions to the family, is to go to to-be-created charitable foundation
Family and friends were not left out: $225 million is to go to his widow and daughter and $10 million to his long-time assistant.
Of course, all of these bequests depend to a certain extent on the family’s settlement with Picard, who claims Picower was not a victim of the Madoff scheme but a beneficiary who knew or should have known it was a scam.
Picower’s widow said in a statement released last night that her husband “was determined that we would put Madoff behind us, reclaim our good name and reverse the damage Madoff’s fraud had, not only upon our lives, but upon the many deserving institutions and people we were blessed to support.”
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