James Forsyth

How revealing are Madoff’s quirks?

How revealing are Madoff's quirks?
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I must admit to being rather fascinated by the details about the lives of the fraudsters who are being caught out now that the financial tide has gone out. New York Magazine has a set of pieces on Bernie Madoff this week that not only suggest he was slightly relieved to be caught—when the FBI told him they were there to see if there was an innocent explanation for everything he immediately said ‘There’s no innocent explanation’—but also highlight his odd side.

Consider his loathing of curves:

“Bernie—whose office is in the famously ovoid Lipstick Building—couldn’t bear curves. “He was paranoid about them,” says one employee. In one office, he drank out of square drinking glasses, stored his pencils in square holders, tossed his trash into square cans. He insisted that the blinds align with window frames—“We used a tape measure,” says the employee. He liked computer screens to stand straight up and down.”

Or the layout of his closet:

“To the left are four rows of four drawers, each drawer only large enough to contain a single shirt—sixteen identical shirts, same cut, same color, a French blue that matches his eyes. Straight ahead is a row of a dozen identical suits, double-breasted, charcoal gray, English cut, pants and jackets on separate hangers, with the same amount of air on each side of each hanger. Below are two rows of handmade tie-shoes, at least a dozen of them, and again, each in the same style, the same color.”

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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