Whenever I hear the media and the government denouncing loudly in unison, I look for the possibility that the target is a scapegoat, and that the scandal goes deeper, touches better-established personalities.
This article by Wayne Madsen (scroll down to see it) offers a plausible hypothesis why Madoff’s conviction is the end of the line, and prosecutors aren’t lookig for co-conspirators. According to Madsen, Madoff’s investors were not so dumb, and what Madoff was really collecting money for was a vast floating casino project in Manhattan, with new transit lines thrown in for extra $$$. The "Cornerstone Project" was to have absorbed Madoff’s cash and rewarded him richly, before last September’s crash put the project in jeopardy.
I won’t try to summarize the intrigue that Madsen describes, aside from revealing the "cornerstone" of his charge: Judge Denny Chin, who has accepted Madoff’s guilty plea and will be in charge of sentencing him, is a major investor in the Cornerstone project.
Josh Mitteldorf / www.opednews.com
Madoff took fall for New York’s Richest and most powerful politicians
by Wayne Madsen; March 16, 2009,
A reliable source who is close to both the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s Organized Crime Unit tells WMR that Ponzi scammer Bernard Madoff, who was remanded to prison last week by U.S. Judge Denny Chin, took a "fall" for some of New York’s most powerful and wealthiest politicians who were using Madoff’s private investment scheme as a "front" to assist in a major real estate redevelopment plan for New York that stood, and still stand, to make the conspirators super-rich.
Although the federal prosecutors in the case against Madoff claim the former chairman of NASDAQ and chief of Madoff Investment Securities refused to cooperate in their criminal conspiracy investigation of Madoff, the prosecutors have no intention of expanding the case beyond Madoff and possibly some of his family members.
WMR has been informed by a well-informed New York legal source that Madoff is a second-tier player in a major real estate development plan that used some of the money skimmed off by Madoff’s Ponzi scheme to fund some of the real estate development projects. WMR has been told that another second-tier player in the real estate scheme is none other than Madoff’s trial judge, Chin.
The judge, WMR is told, particularly represents the real estate development interests of Tishman Speyer, the real estate firm that owns the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, and the MetLife Building. Chin has been amply rewarded for his "services" with a luxurious penthouse for him and his wife in Battery Park City in lower Manhattan. WMR has also been told that Chin has been responsible for destroying important email evidence that points to the involvement of New York’s top political leadership in the Cornerstones project.
Madoff, another second-tier player in the Cornerstones, also stood to gain financially from the proect as a major investor in real estate in his own right.
A branch of the Tishman family, Tishman Construction Company, specializes in the building and operation of entertainment complexes, including casinos projects in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Last July, Tishman and Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City executives were killed in a plane crash in Owatonna, Minnesota, 60 miles south of Minneapolis.
Chin and Madoff were linchpins in a major redevelopment scheme for New York called the "Cornerstones." There are four Cornerstone" redevelopment projects planned for Manhattan that will see the building of major entertainment and gambling casino operations in the city with high-speed rail links between them and to other parts of the city. The four "Cornerstones" are the new World Trade Center site surrounding the future Freedom Tower, Grand Central Station/Times Square, Penn Station, and a floating casino complex on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge.
WMR has been told that Chin is closely allied in the mega-billion dollar real estate development scheme with former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who once served on the same southern district of Manhattan federal circuit with Chin. WMR is told that Chin and Mukasey represented the interests of New York’s "Landlord Lobby" and "West Side Lobby" in major cases involving real estate plans for New York City. Chin and Mukasey failed to recuse themselves from cases in which they had clear conflicts-of-interest, WMR was informed. Mukasey’s son Marc, an attorney for the law firm Bracewell Giuliani, is representing Frank DiPasquale, Madoff’s chief financial officer. Mukasey and Giuliani are also close friends and business associates and both worked for the same law firm Patterson Belknap.
Although the Cornerstones projects are supported by New York interests who represent the middle class and poor, mainly due to the fact that it will create mixed-income housing units and provide money for public education and the city’s increasingly deteriorating public schools, critics point out that the project has been stalled because major players who used Madoff to launder money in New York and abroad for the entertainment and casino operations skimmed some of the proceeds for themselves and have essentially stalled the project. Critics also point out that the planned Freedom Tower complex at the old World Trade Center site has been delayed for seven years due to money, in addition to basic construction materials like concrete and steel, have been siphoned off for other more immediate construction projects.
In addition, although the Cornerstones is slated to improve public education, a number of public schools have been sold off for private development as part of the overall scheme.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the southern district of Manhattan Chad Vignola, who also worked for Mayor Giuliani on the city’s Waste Management Commission and resigned from the city’s Department of Education amid a nepotism scandal, is reportedly very much involved with the Cornerstones project and is close to both Giuliani and Chin in ensuring the project’s completion. Vignola resigned as chief counsel for New York City’s Education Commissioner Joel Klein, a Bloomberg appointee who takes his orders from the Giuliani-Bloomberg "mafia" in New York, after Deputy Education Commissioner Diana Lam resigned after she tried to get her husband hired by the Education Department. The sale of public school property to private real estate developers has reportedly been at the center of Klein’s tenure, along with the creation of charter schools at the expense of deteriorating schools in poorer area of the city.
Two area state governors who posed potential problems for the Cornerstones project were dispatched quickly through sex scandals.
Tishman Construction received the consulting contract from the state of New Jersey for the Xanadu entertainment complex at the Meadowlands sports complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey during the administration of Governor Jim McGreevey. Tishman had hired McGreevey’s Israeli intelligence "honey trap" Golan Cipel as a consultant at a salary of $7500 a month after Cipel left other jobs arranged by McGreevey, including one as New Jersey homeland security chief adviser. McGreevey resigned as governor after his affair with Cipel became public. The new transportation hub at the World Trade Center Cornerstones entertainment center will link that complex with the Xanadu complex in New Jersey via the PATH train operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
New York’s Governor, former Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, was a dogged pursuer of fraud on Wall Street and those pursuits posed a severe problem for the Cornerstones money laundering operation. Spitzer was forced to resign as governor after he was identified as a customer of the Emperors Club VIP prostitution service run by ex-Israeli government official Mark, aka "Michael," Brener. Details of the probe of Spitzer, known as "Client 9" in federal investigation documents, were leaked by federal investigators working out of the U.S. Attorneys office for southern Manhattan, which has been described as a hub for organized criminal activity even though it comprises the "Organized Crime" investigation unit.
The Barack Obama administration’s interest in the mega-bucks real estate boondoggle in New York is heightened by the fact that Klein was on the short list to be Obama’s Secretary of Education. In fact, WMR has been told by a knowledgeable source that the Cornerstones project and its receipt of federal
stimulus money is a major priority for both Obama and his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, along with New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer, a major recipient of campaign contributions from Madoff and his well-heeled associates.
A veteran of the corrupt U.S. Attorneys office for southern Manhattan is the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald. His pursuit of Rod Blagojevich, who was forced to resign as Governor of Illinois, parallels the campaign by his old New York federal colleagues against Spitzer. Chicago billionaire real estate developer Sam Zell, the owner of the Tribune Company that owns Chicago’s Wrigley Field, is interested in selling the lucrative baseball park, which sits within the Fifth congressional district once held by Blagojevich and subsequently by Emanuel. Blagojevich was seen as a possible problem if the ball park were sold for the development of a Cornerstones-like mega entertainment and casino center.
With McGreevey, Spitzer, and Blagojevich out of the picture, the Russian-Israeli mob-connected entertainment and casino interests now have a virtual free hand in New York and Chicago, with a wink and a nod from Emanuel who occupies the powerful White House position as Chief of Staff and who can influence the dispersal of federal stimulus money to assist in the various redevelopment schemes. With Spitzer gone and an increasingly unpopular David Paterson as Governor, Bloomberg is given a good chance of unseating Paterson and ensuring that Albany supports the Cornerstones plan for New York City.
The billions of dollars that the Cornerstones players had Madoff skim in his Ponzi scheme that are sitting in off-shore locations, including Israel, the Cayman Islands, Belize, and other financial centers, was to have been re-introduced into New York to fund the Cornerstones development projects. But the fact that Madoff was caught in the scheme and ran the risk of identifying and testifying against his "handlers" has put the entire Cornerstones project risk, WMR has been told.
The Madoff money that was "parked" in Israel, with Russian-Israeli mobsters earning interest and able to use the funds for other financial "leverag," was to be pumped back into New York for the Russian-Israeli mob to make billions from the Cornerstones casino/entertainment complexes in Manhattan. Bloomberg was being counted on to "deliver" the project but now that Madoff was caught the project has been further delayed and silent "investors" in the project are growing restless.
Madoff had guaranteed the major Cornerstones developers that there would be "no release" of information on the source of funding for the project and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani guaranteed that Madoff’s "account" would be protected from federal, state, and local law enforcement scrutiny.
WMR was told by our legal source in New York that Madoff and Chin have their "strings pulled" by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a "shill" for Giuliani who plans to run for Governor of New York to take care that New York City’s redevelopment project does not face any problems in Albany; former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, who is shilling for the financial interests of his son Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Attorney General (Giuliani jumped the GOP ship in 1994 to endorse Democrat Mario Cuomo for Governor); and former Senator Alphonse D’Amato, Giuliani’s political enemy who, nevertheless, hopes to capitalize on the Cornerstones project.
In fact, WMR was told that the federal stimulus package for New York City is almost entirely slated for rail and rail station projects to support the Cornerstones. These projects include a hookup between the Second Avenue subway and the Q Street subway that will also connect to a high-speed rail link from the East River floating casino to Coney Island; a new rail tunnel linking the Grand Central Station/Times Square casino/entertainment complex with the World Trade Center complex; and enhanced rail links between the Cornerstones and New Jersey. One indication that the federal stimulus money is geared for new rail stations is the fact that the rail station for the new Yankee Stadium is still not completed just weeks prior to the opening of the new stadium.
One source familiar with Cornerstones emphasized the pressure on Bloomberg to deliver on the project. The source revealed that if the Madoff fiasco is any indication of Bloomberg’s team’s performance, the project is in real trouble. The source added that Bloomberg will pay dearly politically and financially if he fails "to deliver the goods" on the Cornerstones.
With Madoff going to federal prison without a jury trial and no conspiracy charges being brought, the investors in Cornerstone hope their mega-project can be saved with little public notice. It is also certain that based on the massive returns that were expected from Cornerstones, some of Madoff’s closest investors, who are now complaining about not knowing about his Ponzi scheme, likely knew very well that if the project came off without a hitch, they stood to gain on their original investments.
Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, was educated to be an astrophysicist, and has branched out from there to mathematical modeling in a variety of areas. He has taught mathematics, statistics, and physics at several universities. This year, his affiliation is with the University of Arizona, where he studies the evolution of aging.