Eleanor Squillari to World: Madoff was No Ladies’ Man

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You know you want a piece of this.

Vanity Fair has published an article co-written by Eleanor Squillari, Bernie Madoff’s secretary. In it, Squillari describes her time with Bernie Madoff. To promote the piece, Squillari appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today Show.” CNBC has more:

The 59-year-old Squillari spent two months helping the FBI gather evidence against the former money manager. In the article, Squillari said her married former boss was flirtatious and made sexually suggestive remarks.

She said she once saw him perusing the escort ads in the back of a magazine and said he frequented massage parlors. Sometimes when he came out of his bathroom, which was diagonal to my desk, he would still be zipping up his pants. If he saw me shaking my head disapprovingly, he would say, ‘Oh, you know it excites you,”‘ she wrote.

But Squillari told ABC she had a nice relationship with Madoff, despite his ways toward women.

“So, what one person might perceive as inappropriate, I didn’t,” Squillari said. “So, if he made suggestive remarks, I knew it was only meant to be funny.”

Squillari said the Madoff who was arrested was not the same man she knew. She said she was shocked and then angry after his arrest. She thinks her former boss carefully orchestrated his arrest and that he’s protecting others who might have been involved in his multibillion dollar scheme by not cooperating with investigators.

The WSJ adds notes from the 9,000-word Vanity Fair article:

Madoff’s behavior changed drastically in the weeks before his arrest. He reportedly began taking his blood-pressure every 15 minutes, refused to look at his mail, and was constantly meeting with the heads of his feeder funds and Frank DiPascali, “the go-to guy for the investment-advisory business” (the vehicle for Madoff’s Ponzi scheme).

Without having read the article, I now see Madoff not only as a Ponzi master who knew he was guilty, but as a scheming, neurotic old man. Somehow, none of this feels surprising.