The New York Times, Sunday Opinion: “At Last Bernie Madoff Gives Back”

News / February 13, 2011

The work of Baker Hostetler lawyers involved with the SIPA liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Securities Investments LLC—under the leadership of Trustee Irving H. Picard, bankruptcy partner, and his chief counsel, David J. Sheehan, litigation partner—was featured on several occasions in The New York Times in the past month. The Baker Hostetler team’s wide-ranging, international activities are seen as not only groundbreaking in scope, but also in the depth of detail uncovered regarding the fraud.

Notably, on February 13, Op-Ed columnist Frank Rich positioned Madoff’s actions and his post-arrest media attention within the larger context of the country’s recent financial crisis. Rich’s column credits the Baker Hostetler team’s investigation into the Madoff fraud as underscoring longstanding flaws in our financial system.

As examples, the author pointed to several of the hundreds of lawsuits filed by the Baker Hostetler team. Rich said that the BH efforts have “… raised the stakes with two suits that reach deep into American institutions—the New York Mets, whose principal owners, the Wilpon family, seemed to constitute a Madoff financial farm team, and JPMorgan Chase, the main Madoff banker … (and) the sole big bank that survived the economic crisis with its balance sheet … more or less unscathed.”

Rich compared the investigation into Madoff to Ferdinand Pecora’s Senate inquisition of 1933, described as “a no-holds-barred dispensation of blame to tycoons who looted the Wall Street casino and then let ordinary Americans pay the consequences” via the Great Crash. As Rich explained, “Pecora’s cross-examination of Charles Mitchell, the chairman of National City Bank (the ancestor of Citigroup), caused a national sensation.”

Returning to the present, Rich asserted that “Madoff remains the only felon of the whole affair that Americans can identify by name. By taking this single card he’s been dealt and exploiting Madoff’s trail of crime to the max, Picard may yet prove the Pecora we’ve been waiting for.”

When asked about his reaction to Rich’s column in the Times, Picard said, “It is certainly an honor to be mentioned in this context, but this is truly a team effort. I am privileged to work with such an experienced and talented group at Baker Hostetler. The attorneys and other legal professionals across the firm are dedicated to recovering as much as possible for the Customer Fund, so this column is, in reality, a credit to their efforts.”