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Madoff’s Former Secretary Tells All

Hell hath no fury like an assistant scorned, and Bernie Madoff’s ex-secretary Eleanor Squillari is pissed. She coauthored a 20,000-word (!) piece in this month’s Vanity Fair about what it was like working for the man who ran the biggest … Read More

By / May 6, 2009

Hell hath no fury like an assistant scorned, and Bernie Madoff’s ex-secretary Eleanor Squillari is pissed. She coauthored a 20,000-word (!) piece in this month’s Vanity Fair about what it was like working for the man who ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Among the highlights:

  • The way Madoff handled stress was “by saying something nasty: You look terrible. You’re gaining weight. You’re stupid. I never took anything he said to me personally, because I knew it wasn’t about me, it was about him.”
  • Madoff was flirtatious and had a habit of making sexually suggestive remarks: “‘Oh, you know you’re crazy about me,’ he would say to me. 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.’ If a pretty young woman came in, he’d say, ‘Do you remember when you used to look like that?’ I’d tell him, ‘Knock it off, Bernie,’ and he’d go, ‘Ah, you still look good.’ Then he’d try to pat me on the ass.”
  • Squillari once caught him perusing the escort ads in the back of a magazine, and he frequently visited massage parlors. “Once, I looked in his address book and found, under M, about a dozen phone numbers for his masseuses. ‘If you ever lose your address book and somebody finds it, they’re going to think you’re a pervert,’ I said.”
  • In the days after her husband’s arrest, Ruth Madoff called Squillari multiple times and encouraged the secretary to provide her with certain information without notifying the bankruptcy trustees, which Squillari said she couldn’t do. “Instead, I told the F.B.I. what had just happened. I was working for them now, not for Ruth and Bernie Madoff.”

It continues to get awesomer and more fucked up. Squillari has a video on Vanity Fair’s website where she tells more stories. It’s absolutely worth checking out.

Cross-posted from Save the Assistants.

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