Madoff investors oppose payments to bankruptcy trustee
Last Updated: 12:58 PM, September 2, 2010
Posted: 12:58 PM, September 2, 2010
Hundreds of Ponzi king Bernard Madoff's victims today challenged the latest bill from his bankruptcy trustee, which seeks more than $34 million for 120 days of work.
The Aug. 20 bill, for services rendered between Feb. 1 and May 31, works out to more than $5,000 a day for court-appointed trustee Irving Picard and more than $283,000 a day for his firm, Baker & Hostetler, court papers say.
"On an annualized basis, this would be $104,900,950," according to the objection filed by Diane and Roger Peskin, Maureen Ebel and "several hundred" other unnamed Madoff investors.
Their Manhattan Bankruptcy Court filing says that "investors have no ability to evaluate the efficiency or professionalism of the work covered by these applications" because Judge Burton Lifland ruled that Picard and his firm "do not have to file their detailed billing reports."
But they say that "despite the expenditure of more than $2.3 million per week in professional fees and expenses, the trustee has still not determined 2,995 customer claims constituting $14 billion of the $20 billion of claims the trustee has said he will recognize."
The filing also alleges that while Picard has claimed to have recovered $1.5 billion in assets to distribute to Madoff's burned investors, nearly $100 billion was "simply sitting in bank accounts in Madoff's name when the trustee was appointed."
Picard spokesman Kevin McCue declined to comment on the filing, but noted that "any fees paid to Irving Picard and Baker Hostetler are not paid out of the funds recovered for the victims," but by the industry-funded Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
"Therefore, everything recovered for the victims will go to the victims, not to Mr. Picard or the law firm," McCue said.
Absolutely amazing. No wonder there's so much love for the legal profession in the hearts of normal America. Itemization of the bill? Fuggedabowdid. Best of all, the fees, as Mr. McCue said, don't come out of the recovered funds, but from some other mysterious pot of money, so everythings really just O.K.