J. Ezra Merkin allegedly lost $24 million of NYU’s money by investing with Bernard Madoff. Now, according to recently released court documents, he had been warned to steer clear of Madoff in the early ’90s by a former employee but ignored the advice.
Victor Teicher, who managed Merkin’s Ariel Fund Ltd., told Merkin that he found some of Madoff’s practices to be questionable.
… “He told me sometime — perhaps it was ’92 or ’93, that he was considering investing with Bernie Madoff,” Teicher said in the Feb. 9 deposition. “He described Madoff in terms of what he was doing and the consistency of the returns, and I felt that that was just not possible.”
But Merkin continued to invest with Madoff, who pleaded guilty to stealing $65 billion and now faces up to 150 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.
… “Ezra had positioned himself in the marketplace as someone who was very knowledge about investing and researching matters,” Teicher said. “People believed that that was his specialty.”
NYU lost $24 million when it invested with Merkin’s fund after the university had directly told him not to invest with Madoff.
… “He ultimately fooled himself in the sense that by positioning himself in the marketplace as someone who does a lot of research, he actually believed it,” Teicher said.
Teicher graduated from the Stern School of Business in 1976 with a master’s of business administration in finance. He was convicted for insider trading in 1990. [Nice succinct cv there. MBA → Insider trading… Okay…. MBA prepares you nicely for this sort of outcome, I guess, if you go by the numbers of degree recipients who, like Teicher … Anyway. What UD really finds intriguing here are the dates of various events. Teicher says he advised Merkin against Madoff well after his conviction. So Merkin’s getting advice about the Ponzi mastermind of the century from someone recently convicted of insider trading. Right? Or am I getting this wrong? If I’m right, Daphne Merkin needs to write another op-ed piece in the New York Times about how her brother was surrounded by criminals and had no place else to turn.]
After Madoff’s scheme fell apart, Teicher and Merkin had several e-mail and phone exchanges.
“You, however, took a brilliant career and actively, willingly, wiped your ass with it when it was obvious that you [knew what you] were doing,” Teicher said in his testimony.