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Madoff does Minneapolis

Oak Ridge Country Club was hit hard by a big scandal, after wealthy families invested with Benard L. Madoff. This particular Country Club in mostly Jewish and was founded around the time of 1921. This is where the scandal started in the Twin Cities. Madoff had a very agonizing impact on these wealthy families’ lives. The “Ponzi” scheme that he used totaled over $50 billion all together from the different towns. In the town of Hopkins just west of Minneapolis, he preyed on Jewish families and Jewish foundations. Regional reports showed that there were losses of $300 million, but a local attorney has a different opinion. He says the $600 million is a much more accurate number that best describes the situation. The lawyer claimed that he knew two families that together lost a total of $130 million. Some of the rest of the money from the scandal was at a smaller scale, for example like for a child’s college savings and for retirement. This also got Jewish funded groups stuck in a rut and not able to pay basic core missions for the poor.
This however wasn’t the only hit the Twin Cities received, just two months before the Madoff case, Tom Petters was arrested and charged on 20 felony counts for a scam of about $3.5 billion dollars that he took from investors as well. Petters also scammed on a religious community, which happened to be his members from his own evangelical Christian faith.
Maddoth didn’t only hit in one place in the Twin Cities he also trapped the small group of Hillcrest Country Club, also a Jewish golf course, but this time in St. Paul. Bruce Graybow was personally affected and one of the victims of the former scam artist. He heard about Madoff from his late father, many gulfing buddies and good friends shared madoff’s name amongst each other and they formed a trust with him so a large majority were all affected. In Graybow’s case he put a large amount of money from his family plumbing and heating business into Madoff’s firm. These families that have been affected by this have truly had their lives turned upside down. “I saw this as a safe and conservative investment, a good place to put my discretionary savings,” says Graybow. “When I found out what happened, I was shocked and in absolute disbelief.” He also felt physically ill and went into a cold sweat. The state government is even involved in the process because many investors will have the right to reclaim taxes paid on fake gains at the state and federal level. Because of the way the economy is and for a state like Minnesota the impact of the losses could have major consequences.
The Oak Ridge Country Club members are worried about the future of the club because of what people may think from the scandal. To regain confidence the clubs president sent out letters to members reassuring them that they will pull through this just fine, he also inscribed the charitable work of the Oak Ridge members and encouraged them not to talk to them press about Madoff. Many houses of worship that are Jewish are already struggling from the economic rough times and in the near future the Madoff scandal could make things much worse. But even under these circumstances some of the rabbis are trying to teach the people to learn from this incident. Rabbi Alexander Davis is trying to be optimistic, even though he knows that people are shocked and some think that this brought shame to their Jewish Community. “It’s definitely an opportunity, whether we wanted it or not, to rethink our values,” says Davis.
Graybow thinks that the government failed to see Madoff’s mischief behavior even though there were warnings and many investigations into the firm. He thinks that the government should have a fund for victims. This sounds like a good idea but I don’t believe that this will work in the real world. Just as the writer says, “The line at the government till is already very long and is likely to grow longer” (Kansas). For right now there are no for sure answers for the Oak Ridge Club.

Comments

I think it is sad how Madoff scandaled the Oak Ridge Club. I think that the member should take the president's advice and not talk to the media, because once the media get a league on an investigation or problem they make their own assumptions and find things that don’t even have to do with Madoff's scandal. The media is so powerful and have a lot of control over making people think what they dish out. Since this is a big issue and serious crime the government could have done more to help these people out, but since that isn't reality, this situation should open them eyes of the people who lost money and have them be more careful of who to trust. Out of all the religions to scam on why would Madoff and Petters target Jewish people. Fifty billion dollars is a lot of money that just basically gone to waste and schemed on. Madoff is probably a person with no moral values and only cares about getting money. People like him need to be in personal for a long time because they don’t think about how hard or what these people went through to earn their life savings and get to where they are now.

While Graybow believes the government should have a fund of victims, like you stated it probably will not work in the real world, especially with the economy the way it is. While the Oak Ridge Club scandal, as well as the others Madoff was responsible for, is an extremely upsetting situation, fraud is sort of the risk a person takes when investing their money. You never know what will happen to it. It is unfortunate that such a large sum of money was taken from these people but it is not really the governments fault that it happened. Though they may have overlooked the warning signs, the government should not be the only party held responsible; instead, if anyone is going to pay back the victims, it should be Madoff.

What I found particularly interesting is the fact that Madoff targeted Jewish communities. Though many believe racism ended a long time ago, this proves that it is still a very big issue in today’s society. I do not know if Madoff has something against the Jewish faith because he does not belong to it, but him coning communities with that affiliation shows some animosity. People, especially adults, these days should learn to live with the fact that not everyone has the same beliefs or morals and most likely never will. If you have conflicting views or a dislike towards a group of people, that does not mean you should commit a crime against them in anyway. I t does not really do anyone any good. Most of the time, the person committing the crime gets caught, just the way Madoff did.

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