[Marxism] Unintended benefits #2

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 22 07:54:50 MST 2008

Members of exclusive N.Y. synagogue lose collective $2 billion in Madoff 

By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent

At least 10 of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue members lost millions to the 
scam. The report names IRA RENNERT, the chairman of the synagogue board, 
who reportedly invested $200 million with Madoff's company. Author and 
Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel was also listed as a long-time Fifth 
Avenue Synagogue member whose foundation lost $37 million.




This may be just the first in a continuing series based on the time I 
have available and on the availability of suitable candidates—I imagine 
that the second condition will be a lot easier to meet. It is written in 
the spirit of Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” awards that 
he hands out on a fairly regular basis on his MSNBC cable show. As you 
can imagine, Bill O’Reilly is a multiple recipient. My approach will be 
somewhat different. I am far more interested in highlighting the sins of 
the super-rich, who are after all the ones who pay the piper. I should 
add that Ira Rennert received “The Awful Truth” award of the year in 
1999 from Michael Moore (more below), so in a sense I am following in 
both of their footsteps.

As some of you will recall, I have referred to the Real Estate section 
of the weekly New York Observer as a kind of scandal sheet in which 
various shady characters are reported as buying or selling hugely 
expensive apartments. This included Jack Barnes and Mary-Alice Waters, 
the two leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, who sold a loft near 
party headquarters in the West Village last year for nearly 2 million 
dollars. The article was titled “Communists Capitalize on Village 
Sale—Get $1.87 M. for Loft”.

Earlier this month, Max Abelson, the Observer’s real estate reporter 
scooped the Barnes and Waters transaction, reported on another big sale 
(”Big Deal! Big-Hearted Baron Ira Rennert Buys Daughters Spreads in 740 
Park, 778 Park for $60 M.-Plus“)

     Brooklyn-born Ira Rennert has an oceanic $185 million Hamptons 
compound, a few infamous smelting plants in Peru and Missouri, and a 
billion-dollar fortune from junk bonds and Hummer vehicles.

     He also has something of a generous streak: Two sources told The 
Observer that Mr. Rennert has bought two of New York’s most expensive 
apartments, at two of the best-bred co-op buildings, for his two daughters…

     Mr. Rennert, meanwhile, has his own multiunit spread nearby at 625 
Park Avenue, plus his 63-acre oceanfront property—“the largest home in 
America,” The New York Times wrote in 1998. He’s also been known for a 
different kind of excess: According to a 2003 BusinessWeek article, the 
E.P.A. has ranked his Renco Group—a conglomerate based on mining and 
smelting—as the country’s 10th-biggest polluter.

The news that this scumbag is buying 60 million dollars worth of 
apartments for his useless offspring goes hand in hand with the fact 
that his corporation is the country’s 10th biggest polluter. With one he 
poisons the air and water and with the other helps turn Manhattan into a 
theme park for Eurotrash and hedge fund managers.


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