Lawrence Leamer, the Palm Beach, FL winter resident who wrote the bestselling Madness Under the Royal Palms which provides an unflattering portrayal of those who inhabit the exclusive community, fears for his safety:
His tell-all book has ruffled feathers, as has his chronicling of the Bernie Madoff scandal in magazines and the web. A perfect storm of hot topics that has offended many. He says at Ball the other night, the Palm Beach Police Chief took him aside and said: "Your life may be in danger..you had better get security." "I thought he was joking", says Leamer. "He wasn't joking"
Robert M. Jaffe, the broker who steered many wealthy Boston and Palm Beach investors to Bernard Madoff's investment fund through both New York-based Cohmad Securities Corp., partly owned by Madoff and of which Jaffe is a vice president, and Jaffe's own Palm Beach-based M/A/S Capital Corp., previously "did business with another notorious rogue: former Boston mob leader Gennaro Angiulo":
Jaffe, under investigation for his ties to the Wall Street investor who authorities say confessed to running a Ponzi scheme, was the stockbroker to Angiulo and his brothers, reputed members of the Boston Mafia, before they were sent to jail on racketeering charges in 1986. He first represented the Angiulos when he worked at the investment firm E.F. Hutton in the 1970s, and the Angiulos followed him when he became the Boston branch manager at Cowen & Co. in 1980, according to a Boston Globe article in 1985 that quoted Cowen's lawyer, Lawrence Leibowitz.
Jaffe's brokerage relationship with the Angiulos first came to light "in an inquiry by federal securities regulators into whether Cowen failed to report large deposits the Angiulos made into their brokerage accounts there" that "was part of a broader federal investigation of alleged money laundering by the Angiulos"; however, "neither Jaffe nor Cowen was ever implicated, and the Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry appears to have ended quietly."
In Boston magazine Leamer writes that the socialites are not being kind to Jaffe whom some believe was a mere interloper through his 1968 marriage to the daughter of textile magnate Carl Shapiro:
Robert Jaffe's not even getting the benefit of the doubt. It's with acid in their voices that his Palm Beach peers remind you how the former Louis Boston salesman married into his status. "He was looking for a rich wife, and Ellen was the best he could do," says a woman whose father was involved with Boston's Jewish mob. After the couple married in 1968, she relays, Jaffe "went strutting down Newbury Street, showing off that he was in the chips."
Among those who invested with Madoff is Mel Weiss from the plaintiff class action law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP who had four accounts with the funds. Weiss was convicted last year with several of his law partners for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy allegedly spanning decades in which serial plaintiffs were illegally paid to file shareholder class action suits against corporations. The firm also was indicted but managed to escape prosecution after it -- now simply known as Milberg LLP -- agreed to pay a $75 million fine and employ a compliance monitor.
It's ironic that a former name partner of Milberg was a presumably defrauded investor in the Madoff funds because the class action firm now is representing a group of those investors:
Bernard Madoff is said to have ruined many a fortune. But for one law firm, history’s largest alleged Ponzi scheme is opening the door for a comeback. The law firm formerly known as Milberg Weiss—considered the go-to firm for shareholder class-action suits until a 2006 kickback scandal landed several of its name partners in prison—is once again in demand. The firm, now called simply Milberg LLP, has signed up more than 100 Madoff victims, the biggest group assembled by any one firm to date. All told, these clients face estimated losses of $1.5 billion to $2 billion. In addition to representing a potential windfall in fees, the cases could help restore the firm's reputation.
Milberg has teamed up with law firm Seeger Weiss -- where Mel's son Stephen Weiss is a name partner -- on the cases. No word on whether Mel Weiss from his prison cell now is a client of his former firm and Seeger Weiss.
Speaking on the intregity of the remaining partners at Milberg, Ariana Tadler said: "The lawyers that stayed were not implicated or involved in the indictment, and we are going to work just as aggressively as we always have to do the best for our clients."
Although Milberg LLP claims that none of its remaining partners participated in the illegal conduct the question still begged is whether some of them were aware of the scheme and what, if any, steps they took to address the problem. After all, what did they think was happening when the same individuals repeatedly were serving as plaintiffs in dozens of lawsuits? Indeed, in 1995, Congress enacted the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act specifically for the purpose of curbing the abuses for which Milberg Weiss and its partners were indicted, and surely this legislation raised a red flag even among the innocents at the firm.
Frankly, the apparent failure of Ariana Tadler and other current partners at Milberg to uncover the racketeering crimes of Mel Weiss that allegedly occured for decades at the law firm right under their noses hardly instills confidence in their ability now to represent effectively those burned by Madoff.