Sins of the Father

By Dana, Rebecca | Newsweek, June 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Sins of the Father


Dana, Rebecca, Newsweek


Byline: Rebecca Dana

Andrew Madoff can't find a home.

The miserable Madoff clan has faced a lot of foes in the years since Bernie's Ponzi scheme went bust: courts, creditors, a wrathful nation. But nothing prepared them for the most fearsome of all: Manhattan co-op boards.

The latest crucible comes from luxury- apartment buildings, which refuse to rent to Andrew Madoff and his wife, Catherine Hooper, according to the New York Post. The couple is willing to spend up to $20,000 a month on a pad downtown and has been trying to visit apartments under Hooper's name, but no one is fooled.

This is frontier justice, Manhattan style. We don't have public beheadings these days, but sometimes the citizenry demands blood. And when they do, they can count on the mysterious cabals that control access to New York's finest homes. Whatever punishment the court system metes out is tame compared to the city's merciless co-op boards.

"Manhattan co-op boards are like the Kremlin in the old days," says author Michael Gross, who wrote a book about tony apartment building 740 Park and is at work on another about 15 Central Park West, home to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and former Citigroup executive Sandy Weill. The boards are legally prohibited from discriminating on all the usual counts--race, gender, sexual orientation--but they are free to reject applicants for sins our criminal-justice system has a harder time punishing: poor character, a tacky lifestyle, infamy by association. …

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