Bernie Madoff Called a Reporter Collect to Relay a Message to His Son: "I Am a Good Person"

A new feature in New York magazine provides updates on Bernie Madoff less than two weeks after the disgraced and jailed Ponzi-schemer gave his first interview from prison, to the New York Times. After the reporter asked for a favor from one of Bernie's friends and fellow inmates, Robert Rosso, he received a strange phone call. "You have a collect call from Bernard Madoff, an inmate at a federal prison," said the message on the other end of the line. "I don't have that much money in my commissary account," Madoff explained to reporter, Steve Fishman. More than a dozen phone calls followed and they're all pretty dark, if a bit delusional.

In what's being billed as "The Madoff Tapes," anyone can listen to the pleas of the sad financier, speaking over the phone. In the clips, Madoff says things like, "I am a good person," and, "I'm not the kind of person I'm portrayed as." It's still hard to believe him, but that doesn't mean it's not emotional to hear.

New York also provides a rundown of the Madoff family and where they're left after the years-long rollercoaster Bernie put them through:

Madoff's youngest son, Andrew, harder-edged and less prone to self-doubt than his brother, had been protected by his anger at his father's betrayal. Mark's rage consumed and overran him. Neither would speak to their father, even if their lawyers had permitted it. Their mother, Ruth, had to choose between her husband and her sons. She had chosen her husband of five decades--though after Mark's suicide, she too no longer speaks to Madoff. After the death, Ruth rushed from her apartment in Florida--but wasn't at the memorial service at his widow's house. Most of the family didn't want her there. Mark's widow still won't let her visit Mark's two young children. Andrew, who hasn't spoken to his father since December 10, 2008, the day Madoff confessed, is still largely estranged from his mother and distant from his brother's widow, Stephanie.

Fishman, the reporter, surmises that Madoff is talking to him as a way to reach his estranged son, Andrew. "With both my sons, I could never even explain to them what happened," Madoff tells him. "Of course, it's too late for my son Mark, but my son Andy ..." Lawyers, according to Madoff, won't allow him to contact his boy. "At this stage, I just have to give it time," he concludes. "I guess I just have to hope." This one might just get to Andrew.

The whole article is well worth a read:

The Madoff Tapes [NYM]

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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