It’s an age-old tale. Man and wife marry. Man and wife get divorced. Man wants to keep lucrative Bernie Madoff account, so he pays his wife half its value.
More than two years later, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapses and the account, it turns out, is worth nothing.
Though Simkin paid his ex-wife Laura Blank $2.7 million — or half the “value” of the account in 2004 — he asserted that the former couple should redo their divorce agreement, saying the valuation of the account was based on a “mutual mistake” and resulted in a windfall for Blank.
A state court judge in Manhattan, however, said no way. “There is no evidence that defendant was unjustly enriched. In 2006, at the time of their agreement, each of the parties received the benefit of his and her bargain,” Acting Supreme Court Justice Saralee Evans wrote.
In other words, because he could have redeemed the account at the time for the value as he believed it was, the deal was fair. Further, the judge pointed out, he could have redeemed it for several years following the divorce presumably (considering those amazing Madoff returns) for an even greater value.
The New York Law Journal’s full report, by Noeleen Walder, is here.
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