Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bernie Madoff, Mob Ties?

This is a reposting of a post by a member of abovetopsecret.com.

As I've been rather preoccupied with the madoff mess thanks to my connection to this via clients who've been bilked, I have spent quite a bit of time trying to find information on the case and on some of the players I've had contact with. My clients' family dealt with Frank Dipascali. He was their investment manager. In other words, they were being swindled by Madoff's right hand man. So, I did some digging on this guy who has been evasive with the feds so far. He's lawyered up and hasn't been saying much of anything yet, when anyone asked, they'd say nothing happened without talking to Frank first. Frank and Bernie controlled access to the 17th floor. The 17th floor was the floor where Bernie and Frank and 8 others worked. Everyone there was related to Madoff, except Frank. Odd, right?
Well, here's an interesting blog that might shed some light on it.
"Frank pushes phony equities and his wife writes worthless mortgages"

The checks my clients received from Madoff over the years were drawn on a chase account. Frank's wife worked at chase.
Frank's wife is from Howard Beach, New York. This is one of those areas where there's a heavy mafia residence. Is it possible that Madoff was in with the Mob?
The blog linked above raises some rather interesting points.
The US Attorney General removed himself from the case as his son, Marc Mukasey, was representing DiPascali. Marc Mukasey and his dad have very close ties to Rudy Giuliani. Rudy was well known as the man who went after the mob when he was in the US Attorney's office. Giuliani was, publicly, a mob enemy but, is it possible, he was connected to the mob?Rudy's business partner and former top NYC cop, Bernard Kerik, has been linked to the mob and has fallen from grace, taking "gifts" from a jersey construction company among his many crimes. Then there's this blog regarding Rudy and a slip-up regarding his "family."
Sure, it's reaching but, given the history of the mafia in NYC, is it not possible that Rudy was connected and his long time friends the Mukaseys are also connected, thus, Marc Mukasey is representing mob connected Frank DiPascali?
It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see the mafia linked to this. They've been linked to wall street scams for years.
why wouldn't they continue to operate in an arena where the profits were there for the taking?

If you'd like to add to the discussion, here's a link to the original thread:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I almost looked like a hero

I'm horrible at picking out gifts for anyone over the age of 15. If one of my kids needs a gift, the wife asks me what to get. If one of our many nieces or nephews is having a birthday, I usually pick it. Perhaps it is my childish nature. I'm immature and I like to play with the kids and their toys so I have a pretty good handle on what to get them.

When it comes to adults, I'm a moron. A good friend of mine recently turned 40 and I went and picked up a tie. It was a good pick. Very nice. Normally, I'd pick something out that I would like but when I wear ties, they tend to be on the funkier side of things. So, when I came home with a tie for this friend, my wife was surprised and shocked. His wife called my wife to make plans shortly after his party and she said it was one of his favorite gifts. She thought it showed how much we cared that we didn't opt for the standard bottle of wine or champagne. She told my wife she has excellent taste and her husband wore it that Monday. My wife then said "Floogin picked it out. He didn't tell me he was doing it. Just went and picked it out."

Other than that one shining moment, I'm a total bust when it comes to gift buying. Every year, on my wife's birthday, our anniversary, mother's day and channukah, I basically tell her to go buy something for herself. It allows me the pleasure of not having to see her disappointed face when she opens some crappy gift from me.

So, when my sister's 20th wedding anniversary was coming up, I suggested we take my sister and her husband out for a night on the town. They live on Long Island and don't get to take advantage of all the city has to offer. My wife said she liked the idea and asked where we should take them. She thought I meant a restaurant. I did but I also thought it would be fun to see a show. So, I told her about Rock of Ages. It's an off broadway show that is described as "a romantic musical comedy set to the hottest tunes of the 80's." The songs in the show included hits by white snake, styx, reo speedwagon, foreigner etc. The website has a video from the show. It looked fucking awesome.

We were discussing the show with my younger sister and her husband and they both loved the idea and thought the show sounded awesome so I asked my older sister and her husband and they were all over it. They both thought the show sounded like a lot of fun and they said they hadn't been to the theater since our show closed back in 2001. (that's right, Floogin McNoogin as the title Broadway Producer on his resume).

So we set out trying to find a night the 6 of us were all free. After about a week of deliberating, we settled on a date and I went and bought 6 tickets. I got 6 seats in the front row, dead center. Normally, I'd want seats set back a few rows. Having produced a show and been involved with the theater machinations, I have learned to request house seats whenever possible, often doing this through back channels. They are rarely free but you wind up in the best seats in the house. These are the seats that the set designers, choreographers, lighting people, directors etc sit in when the show is in pre-production and these are usually the best seats for viewing the show. The only show I know of where the house seats were not necessarily the best in the theater was The Producers. Mel Brooks wanted the choreography to geared towards the orchestra seating but he also wanted to ensure that the folks in the second balcony would not be fucked over so many of the dance numbers were designed like the old synchronized swimming scenes from those movies from the 40's.

Anyway, I scored these front row seats and, judging from the video on the website, it looks like the show turns into a full on concert. People are dancing in the aisles, the cast comes off the stage to interact and dance with the audience. Quite a party.

I picked up the tickets and this past Friday I gave my sister and her husband their tickets at an anniversary party. I gave my other sister hers. she paid me for her share of the tickets and everything was set. All that was left was to pick a restaurant to hit before the show. No big deal as my younger sister wasn't going to spring for dinner too so it was just the 4 of us for this leg.

Today I got the email alerting me to the show's closing. A week before we are supposed to see the show. On sister is going away next week, the other might not be available the week after that. So, I'm going to have to get a refund and start thinking about a gift all over again.

One last thought. If you are on line for the bathroom in a restaurant, and there's someone behind you, do you let them in first if you plan on taking a dump? I was at a rather crowded restaurant Saturday night and there's a guy on line in front of me and he goes in and doesn't come out for a solid ten minutes. He finally comes out and as I walk in I am engulfed in the noxious odor. A thick, creamy, pea soup of stench permeates my clothes and I spend 3 minutes gagging and pissing. I wound up pissing all over the place as the heaving gags were making me move around as I peed.

When I came out of the bathroom there was a guy and a girl waiting behind me. Well, she was waiting for the lady's room but they were together and as I exited the room of death he said "why don't you go in here, I can go after you."

As she stepped into the bathroom, she must've got wind of what went down in there because she stopped dead in her tracks, spun around and practically leaped out of the bathroom. She was an odd shade of green and she had her hand over her mouth. Thru her fingers she gag spoke and said "you go ahead, this guy got personal in there."

I tried to defend myself but I realized I must've sounded pathetic so I lowered my head in unwarranted shame and fled the scene.

Monday, December 15, 2008

hot weekend. hot as hell.

Hell of a weekend. Or should I say the weekend was hell.

Friday was, for the most part, horrible. Spent the better part of the day investigating and researching into the Madoff scandal as I have a few clients who had investments with this petty thief. I've been saying for years how something wasn't right with this guy. For starters, in an arena where the technology is never fast enough to get your trades through, this guy was claiming to have the most cutting edge technology to aid in his system. Odd since his 1099's were sent out on handwritten or typed forms and his monthly reporting was done on old dot matrix style printer paper with the perforated edges. I didn't even know they made that shit anymore. Everything was so hush hush over there, only Bernie and his sons know what's going on blah blah blah. The whole thing appeared to be ridiculous and, I guess, those people who have lost it all with him now see that the age old adage is true. "If it looks too good to be true...."

I felt horrible when I learned of the scam , mainly because one of of my best friends and her family took a massive hit as a result. To make matters worse, over the last ten or so years, I've been trying to get my friend's dad to at lease diversify a bit, move some money into treasuries or other investments. He always asked the same thing "in a bad market will I still get 10 to 15%?"

So, when my friend got the call from her dad and the first words out of his mouth were "Floogin was right all along," I felt even worse. Normally, I 'd relish the I told you so moment, sneaking off into a private corner and rubbing one out in celebratory glee but not here, not now. This is horrific. Sure, there are people saying "they were rich, who cares" but the folks who were involved here weren't all rich. They thought they were thanks to what I'm guessing are made up statements, phony documentation and utter horseshit reporting. So, when my cousin's grandfather, who is in his late 80's and had one bank account that held everything, learns that the $75 million dollars he thought he had is actually a big zero, he's got a hell of a problem.

No money to pay the maintenance on his apartment. No money for food. No money for the various endowments he has set and promised to fund for as long as he lives. No inheritence for his kids, grand kids or great grand kids. He went from being the guy they all relied on to begging for handouts in the blink of an eye.

fucking sucks, regardless of your opinion of people with money.

So, that's Friday.

Friday night was my sister's anniversary. 20 years of marriage. Always fun to get the McNoogin clan in one room, locked away from the rest of the restaurant, and see what transpires. I had myself on drink as I like to stay relatively sharp at these things. Better to enjoy the chaos around you than to be a semi-willing participant in the maelstrom.

So, I watched as my younger sister's husband devolved into slurring, mumbling sweaty ass. I watched as the celebratory anniversary bride became a slurring, head lolling, eyes closing mess and I watched and listened as her kids (one 14, one 17) made fun of her drunken behavior.

My wife and I snuck out as soon as we could. Ugly gathering of ugly drunks. If I was a pickpocket or a con man, it might have been more fun.

Saturday I took the kids to get new phones for the apartment. Managed to put a bit too much pressure on the foot/ankle in the process of getting in and out of cabs and the pain was rather bad. I actually resorted to calling the wife and asking where the fuck my pills were. She was fucking carrying them around with her. Brilliant idea, if she were me. Dumb in an epic, biblical manner if she was not me.

She came home, I scored my meds, popped me a perc but it was too late. The pain was not going away.

Went to see The Reader. Ok movie, lots of Kate Winslet flesh scenes. I don't get her. She has the doughiest, flabby looking legs and arms but her wasit and body is fucking stellar. So odd. For some reason, the director of this movie thought she should look as much like Madonna as possible. So the german accent she used in the film made me think of Madonna's faux brit accent, further confusing me. The movie isn't bad. Seriously. A bit too much cock viewing for my taste but catching my own naked reflection in the mirror as I walk out of the shower is a bit too much cock viewing for me. Not that my cock is small. It isn't. Seriously. No, really. It isn't. Massive is more like it. It's like a forearm or something.

Fine, it's small. On the bright side, it's almost new. Rarely used. Maybe that explains the smallness. It's becoming akin to my appendix. Small, shriveled and useless. atrophied organ and all that.

Went to the outlass for a party at their club last night. Food was fair, company was ok. I let the wife drive and her stop and go style of driving made me nauseous. My son puked as soon as he got out of the car and my daughter begged me to drive home. I did.

While there the kids exchanged presents with their cousins. Good stuff. Always fun watching the kids get what they want. Even more fun watching the disappointment of gettting a lame gift. I'm cruel.

As we were loading up the car to head home I picked up the bag of gifts that my wife had left next to the car. She is such a good packer, she managed to fit all the gifts into one big bag.
She even managed to fit the $2000 SLR camera. Of course she didn't tell me this so, when I picked up the bag the camera rolled out and landed lens down. It was in the camera bag so, I figured, minimal damage.

Minimal if you consider a shattered lens filter minimal.

I'm heading to the camera store today to see if the lens is fucked.

Got home after 10. the kids were wired. They wanted to play with their new shit. My son had his face painted like spiderman but he wanted to wear his new extended wing batman cap thing. Paint from his face everywhere. Scratches and scrapes from the wings everywhere.

The weekend must've run me a couple grand between the anniversary gift, dinner and movies saturday, the phones, the shopping we did on saturday and sunday and now, add the likelihood of me needing a new lens for my camera and I might actually top the $3k mark.


He runs the risk of being homeless.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Starbucks Stupidity

Every morning, like clockwork, I enter my office building and head to the starbucks in the lobby to snag me a big cup of joe. Every morning they get me what I want without me asking. Every morning they put the heavy cream out for me. I never have to say a word. Of course I do speak to them. I say hello, ask how their weekends were, make small talk and thank them for the coffee etc. They all know me there.

Except when they get new folks into the mix. Then the system breaks down and all hell breaks loose.

So, this morning I walk in, hold my $2.28 out to the new lady behind the counter and ask for a venti bold. She takes my money and one of the women I know says goodmorning and hands me my coffee. Everything is moving along nicely.

I head over to the condiment bar to put my equal and heavy cream into my coffee. There, on the bar, is my cream. So far still good.

Then I hit the condiment bar. There's a new kid working there, cleaning it up. Two women are struggling to prepare their coffee on either side of the idiot taking up all the space as she cleans. there's a line of people waiting for their various drinks and there's a line of people waiting to use the condiment bar because this moron decided to clean it during the busiest time of the day.

So, I stand there, coffee in one hand, cream in the other, waiting for one of the women to finish making their coffee or for the employee to finish cleaning. The two women trying to make their coffee are, clearly, frustrated, by the cleaning going on.

They both finish up and leave and I move in. I put the cream down, I put the coffee down. I grab 4 packs of equal and go to put it in my coffee. Where the fuck is my coffee?

The woman cleaning up has moved my fucking coffee so she could continue cleaning.

I move my coffee back, open the faux sugar, pour it in and look for the cinammon. Find it, go to shake it into my coffee and it has moved again.
I move it back, shake the cinnamon and reach for a stirring stick. I go to stir my coffee and the fucking moron moved it again. Only this time she moved it under my arm and I manage to spill half my coffee onto the counter and myself. My rather expensive (bought at a major sale, more than 60% off) sheerling coat with the suede exterior is now doused in coffee on both arms.
The woman trying to clean now has a real fucking mess to clean and I am furious. I start wiping the coffee off my sleeves, trying to pat the fucking sleeves dry, hoping the jacket isn't destroyed, and the woman starts moving my shit around again. The new movement causes the coffee on the counter top to run over the sides, onto my legs and shoes.

I turn to her and tell her that, during the busiest time of the morning, her best bet is to stay as far away from the condiment bar as possible. The tourists are watching me. I need to remain calm. I don't want to be the ugly New Yorker but I am furious.

The woman tells me there's a mess that needs to be cleaned. I tell her there wouldn't be one if she wasn't trying to clean up after people while they are still cleaning.

She walks away as I mop up the coffee on my legs, shoes and coat and then I go and ask the barrista who is making the espresso based drinks to top off my cup and give me a new lid, please. she does and apologizes for the issue. I tell her not to worry. Not her fault. I'm pissed but what can I do, really?

Then the new hire comes over with a fucking wet nap for burning liquids or something.

I had no choice but to laugh. I look at her, tell her she just managed to spill coffee and ruin my coat, my sweater (light blue cashmere w/coffee colored stains around the sleeve edges), possibly my pants and shoes and that a little wet nap won't really do much. She says it will take out the sting. That's right, it will take out the sting. I tell her it's the sting in my wallet I'm concerned with and walk away.

I gather my shit, grab my coffee and as I'm leaving the door I hear "MOTHER FUCKER!" and turn around. The woman knocked over someone else's coffee.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Holidays Suck

So, the holiday came and went. I'm still alive, barely. I'm teetering on the brink of sanity but that's old news.

Went to the outlaw's before heading to my parents' place for the long weekend. Always hell at Satan's lair. The one upside to visiting her is her rx cabinet. She's a pill freak of epic proportions so I take the opportunity to grab some pain killers and vallium whenever I am there. I stocked up on a variety of goodies that were a necessity thanks to my still aching ankle. Then we headed to my parents' home. I hate going there. My kids are satanic when they are around their cousins, my mother is an ass and my younger sister drives me nuts. But, still, we go.

The dinner itself was fine. I abstained from drinking, as I tend to do at family functions. I feel someone needs to have their wits about them at these things and the alcoholic McNoogins are not to be relied upon for this. After the kids were put to bed I had to endure 3 hours of my brother in law's slurring, incoherent business plan. He's the only guy I know who has an exit strategy in place before he launches a business. Probably why he constantly fails. Truth is, he's got a stellar idea. If he'd let smarter people handle the business plan he'd probably have a hit on his hands. Sadly, his game plan (before the exit strategy) is all wrong and every time I tried to give him direction he simply ignored it and continued pressing in the wrong direction. As a result of this, his plan will, invariably, fail. There's only so much I can do to convince him otherwise. I'll be told that he knows this field better than I do (true) and that this is his area of expertise (true). I will attempt to show that I am somewhat wiser when it comes to running a business and I have a bit of experience in the area of starting a successful business.

So, I dealt with that crap. Then I dealt with entertaining my kids and his kids all weekend long. They (my sister and her husband) tend to ignore their kids when they are around my kids, leaving my wife and me to deal with them all. I dislike her kids. I know that's kinda harsh but her daughter seems doltish and her son is so damned annoying. The one fun aspect to him is that he is only interested in girl things and it drives his homophobic father nuts so I promote the use of the makeover game on barbi.com and other such girlie endeavors.

I did take my daughter to the park so she could finally ditch the training wheels on her bike. She was a champ. Rode like a pro. No more trainers for her. Of course I was forced to run alongside the tottering bike for hours, further aggrivating the ankle. I had plenty of pain meds to help get me thru that and to help me deal with the relatives all weekend.

On the way home we hit the outlaw's again and I stocked up a bit more on the meds.

Then, when I was unpacking, the wife saw the stash and went nuts. She swiped the bottle, presumably to flush them. The fight that ensued was rather ridiculous. She clearly thinks I'm an addict. I didn't have the energy or desire to fight so I let her do her thing. She called me all kinds of names, said all kinds of things. I said nothing. No point really. Let her rant and rave. What's she going to do, cut off the flow of great sex?

Went to see the doctor this morning to find out what the MRI showed. Frayed tendon. Not quite ruptured, not quite torn. What this means is I can have surgery to fix it but I can also try physical therapy to strengthen the area around the tendon to avoid the surgery. I opted for the therapy. I'll go see the guy who helped me with my back. He did a bang up job there so, perhaps, he can work his magic once again.