The Times' Frank Rich knows a lot, writes well and has lots of great opinions. In the middle this week's lengthy erudite and piercing op-ed rant he latches on to J. Ezra Merkin as his selected example of the nexus of the evil forces behind all that is wrong with the auto industry in Detroit, the banks and Wall Street, and specifically the Madoff scandal.
Here is how he puts his invocation of Ezra as poster boy of our nation's financial miscreancy in his op-ed, "Even Rick Wagoner’s Firing Got Lousy Mileage."
...Perhaps the most illuminating Detroit/Wall Street parallel of all is GMAC, the G.M. financial affiliate whose phantom profits were used to help hedge the parent company’s losses when its share of the car market plummeted. GMAC was yet another outfit that placed risky bets on the housing bubble until it burst, taking G.M.’s bottom line down with it.We are pleased to see Frank Rich call much merited attention to Mr. Merkin's rare achievements at the center of immoralities.
As if to confirm that much of our so-called legitimate financial world has been six degrees of separation from Bernie Madoff, GMAC’s chairman was none other than J. Ezra Merkin. In addition to presiding over losses of nearly $8 billion at GMAC, Merkin had a separate investment management business that threw away another $2 billion by feeding other people’s money (including the endowments at N.Y.U. and Yeshiva University) into Madoff’s Ponzi scheme..more...
Why? Because for instance of this scenario, one of many caused by Merkin's disastrous Madoff investment losses. The Times notes in its detailed review today, "Israeli Nonprofits, Shaken by Madoff Scandal, Regroup" by ISABEL KERSHNER...
Yad Sarah, a volunteer organization that aids sick, disabled and elderly Israelis, said it lost about $1.5 million. The money had been invested by J. Ezra Merkin, a New York financier with close ties to Mr. Madoff. Mr. Merkin is a cousin of the wife of Uri Lupolianski, the group’s founder and a former Jerusalem mayor.Nuff said.
The money invested with Mr. Madoff was meant for buying respirators, said David Rothner, a spokesman for Yad Sarah. “We were shocked and we felt betrayed,” he said.