Bernie Madoff's well-documented financial shenanigans may have landed him in jail, but they've also enhanced the marketability of his name. As evidence, note the ad in today's Denver Post pimping a "BERNIE MADOFF AUCTION" tomorrow at St. Regis Resort in Aspen.
What's the story? The ad's information number connects to an auction voicemail that's not monitored on Tuesdays, according to the recording, and an e-mail sent to an address found at MadoffHelpline.com, a simple, one-page site that boasts, "WE BUY GOLD FOR CASH!! TOP DOLLAR PAID," hasn't generated a reply at this writing. (If there's a response to either message, we'll update this item.) Moreover, the folks at the St. Regis don't know anything about the event other than that it's slated to take place there.
In the meantime, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article on Monday about a "Bernie Madoff Auction" in nearby Concord that took place the previous day -- and the piece's author concedes at the outset that "the connection to the jailed Ponzi schemer was thin."
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Chronicle staffer Tom Abate notes that "Manager Gary Getz of East Coast Auctions, based in Georgia, displayed six watches, a gold Bulgari bracelet and necklace, and a mink coat that he said were once owned by Bernard Madoff." However, none of these were sold, and the auctioneer made no mention of Madoff connections during the ninety minutes of the auction observed by Abate, who also includes this passage:
As the 71-year-old Madoff works off a 150-year prison sentence, some auctioneers have laced their collections with property from him or his victims and invoked his name in events held from Florida to California.
Some advocates for victims of Madoff have cried foul, and the U.S. Marshals Service and other legal authorities are reportedly looking into the legitimacy of the auctions.
Regarding the Aspen bash, the ad concedes, in fine print, that none of the available items were owned by Madoff; rather, they're being offered by alleged victims of his vile deeds. Whether or not that's the case, there's no doubt the folks behind the auction regard the Madoff moniker as golden. Here's the ad's text:
Due to Losses Caused By
BERNIE MADOFF AUCTION
Original art by Peter Max, Dali, Rockwell, Tarkay and many more. JEWELRY, ROLEX and other flashy items DULY Instructed by Millionaire's estate as well as other prominent traders. Seized assets and general order merchandise which constitutes the majority, will be liquidated to the highest bidder to recover losses from PONZI SCHEME.
Wednesday, January 6 Auction -- 1:00 PM, Preview 12:30
St. Regis Resort Aspen, CO
315 East Dean Street -- Call 970-920-3300 for directions
For information, call: 770-451-9691
Items available for auction did not belong to Bernie Madoff but are being offered by victims of the ponzi scheme to recoup losses. 15% Buyers Premium.