Madoff's goodies: Going, going, gone

Disposing a lifetime of Madoff's acquisitions is a big job. Here's a status check of where the sales of his homes, his boats and his personal and household effects stand.

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By Les Christie, staff writer

Pieces of Madoff
Many of Bernie Madoff's victims wanted a piece of the felonious financier. This week they could get one: Hundreds of his and Ruth's possessions went up for auction Saturday and they fetched nearly $1 million, a lot more than expected.
Sold: Madoff's Palm Beach house
The U.S. Marshals sold Madoff's home on the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway. Check out where he docked The Bull.
On board Madoff's boats
The Bull sat docked at Bernard Madoff's Palm Beach house. Now it could be yours -- along with two of his other vessels.
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NEW YORK ( -- You can't take it with you, not to prison, so the long list of material possessions amassed by Bernie Madoff during his years of ill-gotten gains will soon be sold off, their link to the felonious financier eventually forgotten.

Already, his vacation home on Cap D'Antibes, France, is in another's possession, sold earlier this year for about $1.5 million.

Just last month, Bernie's Long Island beach "cottage" went. The four-bedroom, three-bath, 3,000-square-foot home, which Madoff bought for a mere $250,000 back in 1980, fetched $9.41 million,well above the $8.75 million asking price.

The sales of his Manhattan penthouse and Palm Beach place have not gone as well. Not only has neither been sold, the asking prices have been slashed by a cool million, to $8.9 million, for the co-op, and by more than $500,000, to $7.9 million, for the Palm Beach house.

Bidding on Bernie's stuff

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the auction of many of his personal and household effects happens. The event will include nearly 500 items taken from Bernie's Manhattan and Montauk homes.

Dozens of watches will be featured as well as jewelry and furs. But there will also be far more mundane goods up for auction, such as a personalized NY Mets satin jacket, decoy ducks, fishing-tackle boxes, golf clubs and, imagine this, boogie boards tagged with the name MADOFF in heavy black marker.

There's a lot more stuff where this merchandise came from, too. So there will be more auctions to come. "This is just a small fraction of all we have from the houses," said Roland Ubaldo, one of the U.S. Marshals who supervised the seizure.

Every piece on auction is in very good condition, according to Ubaldo. Anything with any wear and tear has been left out.

There's little of his extensive wardrobe being sold, other than a few personalized, unused polo shirts, still in their plastic, and the Mets jacket. His suits, dress shirts, sports jackets, slacks and shoes are not up for bid. At least not this round.

The auction will take place at the New York Sheraton in Manhattan and bidders and casual observers can access it online at So far 650 bidders have registered.

"No question about it. High profile auctions like this attract a lot of attention," said Proxibid CEO Bruce Hoberman, who expects the number of bidders to near 2,000 by auction day.

The New York auction should bring in, even if the low estimates prevail, a total of nearly $500,000. The proceeds go to repay the victims of Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

To bid on any of the Madoff lots in person, you must register by Friday from 11 am to 4 pm or starting at 8:30 Saturday morning. A photo ID is required and a $250 deposit. Online bidders must put down $1,000. The deposits are refundable if you don't win a bid.

But wait, there's more

After the Saturday sale, Madoff maniacs can turn to an auction of Bernie's four boats on Tuesday. But they'll have to trek down to Fort Lauderdale, where the sale is taking place.

There's the flagship of Madoff's Florida fleet, "The Bull," a 55-foot, fishing boat built in 1969 that sleeps six. It has been meticulously restored. There's also a 23-foot putt-putt, "Little Bull," and a 38-foot "Shelter Island Runabout," called "Sitting Bull" that has the deep-keeled, old-fashioned look of a 1920s rum runner.

The biggest Madoff nautical prize, however, is not on auction Tuesday. It's an 89-foot sport yacht, also called "Bull," that was seized in France. Its sale is being handled by British auctioneer Wyles Hardy, who is asking a reported $8.5 million.

National Liquidators, which is managing the Fort Lauderdale auction, has provided no estimates for the other three boats. However, there's a similar 55-foot Rybovich Sport Fisherman on sale on for $450,000. It may not be possible to precisely compare prices because customizing and condition might make the Bull more valuable than that. also has a few Shelter Island Runabouts for sale at prices ranging from about $300,000 to $400,000.

The value of Little Bull is probably in the low five figures.

Bonus boat

In addition to the Madoff maritime collection, there's another 61-foot high-performance power boat at the same auction. It's the "Dorothy Jo," once owned by Frank DiPascali, Madoff's CFO, who pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud, criminal conspiracy et al. He's been held for sentencing since early August and faces as much as 125 years.

His boat is probably worth more than all three Madoff vessels put together. The few similar Vikings available for sale on are all priced around $1.5 million.

The National Liquidators' auction also includes Bernie's 10-year-old Mercedes Benz CLK 320 convertible with less than 13,000 miles on it. All the Madoff connected items will be auctioned starting at 4 pm on Tuesday.

There are a lot of potential buyers, according to J.R. Hipple, a spokesman for National Liquidators. "It's a funny thing," he said. "Our company has not done an auction with anyone so notorious before. This has attracted a lot of attention."

The bottom line

It's expected that the sale of all Madoff's material goods, the homes, the cars, the boats, jewelry, furntiture included, may raise more than $50 million, which will all go into a fund to compensate his victims. That's in addition to any assets left in the investment funds and that can be recaptured from his personal accounts and the accounts of others who profited from the scam.

All told, there may be more than $1.5 billion to give back to victims, but that's still a far cry from the $21 billion that the trustee estimates has been lost by investors. To top of page

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