ONE OF MADOFF’S VICTIMS WAS MY LATE FRIEND, THE LEGAL MASTERMIND AND PICASSO LOVER, MEL WEISS
I couldn’t help writing to one of my favorite columnists, Bill Bonner, who asked in his Diary column last week for a moment of silence. It was for the passing of Bernie Madoff, architect of the largest Ponzi scheme in history who died last week in prison. Here’s what I wrote to Bonner to where he’s perched in Youghal, Ireland as his column rang another bell fondly in my muddy, money memory.
Bill, your Diary column on conman Bernie was almost Biblical, only Madoff was a Robinhood who took from the rich and gave to the richer, noble like Chernobyl, but he paid his debt in spades, poor guy. One of his Ponzi victims was a pal of mine, Mel Weiss, who lost millions following, and I guess betting on Madoff.
Mel ran one of the largest class action litigation law firms in the U.S. winning hundreds of millions in judgements for clients scammed, screwed and robbed, until he himself got screwed and had to endure a lot of legal falderol after his law partner sold him out for breaking an oblique esoteric law that only exists in America. But to me and the millions who benefited from his brilliance, Mel will always be a hero!
Poor Mel succumbed to ALS in 2018, leaving behind still many more millions along with one of the largest private collections of his favorite artist, Picasso. Mel rented an office from me in a building I own in downtown Boca Raton, Florida and one of the highlights of my day would be when he’d mosey over to my boardroom to say a few trenchant words as I was pitching a prospective client for my public relations firm, TransMedia Group.
If it’s true you’re judged by company you keep, Mel would always make me look owlishly wise when he popped in and helped me plead my case that I was the world’s greatest SPIN MAN, the title of one of my books I was honored to autograph for my dear departed friend and fellow owl, Mel, who once drew a picture of me. (see below)
I told Bonner I’d be coming to Ireland with my beautiful Brazilian wife Rita one of these days after she gets her second shot and would love to have drink with him, maybe a couple.
Though I’m half Irish, I’ve not been to Ireland and am looking forward to visiting where half of me is from, probably the better half, as one of my favorite writers is George “Bernie” Shaw. Meanwhile, I told Bill to keep up his wonderful writing!
Here’s a picture Mel once drew of me.
Tom Madden is an author, speechwriter and public relations expert who is founder and CEO of the international PR firm TransMedia Group (www.transmediagroup.com). Prior to launching the firm in New York City, Madden was Vice President, Assistant to the President, of NBC and was head of PR Planning at American Broadcasting Companies. Among his books are his autobiography “Spin Man” and “King of the Condo,” a murder mystery thriller that satirically depicts life in a Florida condo based on his own harrowing experience as a condo president. His latest book WORDSHINE MAN is due out this summer. He currently writes a blog called “MaddenMischief’ (https://maddenmischief.com/), which chronicles his sometimes whimsical, comical and critical views on politics, media and other subjects.