City Paper is not for tourists
Gary Weiss has a helluva post up at his blog: In his prepared testimony, Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos says that he told Wall Street Journalinvestigative reporter John Wilke three years ago that there was something fishy about Bernie Madoff. But according to Markopolos, WSJ editors wouldn’t let Wilke follow the story.
Weiss has a lot to say about the WSJ’s failure to act, and sorta kinda suggests that Madoff would’ve been found out sooner had the WSJ put Wilke on the story back in 2005. But then, the Journal isn’t the only financial rag in town, and its reporters knew for quite a while that the mortgage industry was in trouble, and yet it took a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street’s implosion to get top billing. (It is interesting to think of journalists as pre-emptive agents, but the evidence says we’re much better at reacting.)
But whether or not Madoff could’ve been apprehended sooner is a middling concern compared to the costs of repairing the damage he did. His most high-profile casualty, after that guy who committed suicide after finding out he’d lost everything, is the Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, which the university’s board of trustees is trying to liquidate in order to make up for a shortage of alumni donations, most of which were sucked into Bernie Madoff’s black hole.