If there’s a high-end resort without a Bernie connection we can’t find it.
This town of only 6,000 people—many of them extremely wealthy—lost over $1 billion with everyone’s favourite Ponz.
Fortune: Though no one was willing to divulge their name due to upcoming legal suits and the fear of being forced to return assets made through Madoff in earlier years, some did share their stories.
One couple who has lived in Aspen for 25 years was able to retire early with their small real estate business and their investments with Madoff. Now, at ages 59 and 64, they’ll have to go back to work and sell their home.
“It’s shocking,” admits the wife, who says they don’t have a real grip on things yet. “The hardest part is this guilt feeling we can’t shake. But we’re tough and we’ve been through a lot in our life. We’ll hunker down and protect what we have.”
Selling their home will be no easy feat in a housing market that has grinded to a halt. Home sales are down some 40%, reports Chuck Frias of Frias Properties in Aspen.
Sad stories like that abound.
One very wealthy couple has already put their house on the market and moved in with their grown kids. Then there’s the guy who smelled the recession coming, sold his expensive home here at the height of the market frenzy and, yes, invested it all with Madoff. Today — no home, no money. Others speak with great pity of the widow who invested her husband’s life insurance money with Madoff only to find herself left without a penny.