Big-Hearted Bernie Kept Boosting Pay Even As Business Tanked

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Psst, Bernie. Graydon Carter called. He wants his hair back. Photo: Getty Images

Scrutiny of documents related to Madoff Securities LLC, the stock-trading and supposedly "straight" part of Bernie Madoff's operation, has revealed that although the business had been on the decline for several years, Berns kept increasing employees' pay packages. Where he was getting the money to do this without the multiple family members who worked for him — and who denied knowledge of the massive Ponzi scheme he was running on the side — noticing or caring is unclear, as are the reasons why he would make such a seemingly counterintuitive business decision. One law professor tells the Journal it's probably because he wanted to keep pay high "so that the business appeared robust and didn't create suspicions about the overall health of the Madoff firm." But from what we know of Bernie, we suspect he wasn't merely being devious. Probably, in the narrative of his mind, Berns was just looking out for his people and their families. He's a mensch like that.

Madoff's Traders Were in Decline [WSJ]