We applauded Andrew Samuels, the 22-year-old Brooklyn law student whose grandfather invested his $470,000 trust fund with Bernie Madoff, for using his junior-league savvy to file papers temporarily freezing the assets of Bernie’s brother and chief counsel Peter. Peter couldn’t afford a MetroCard for a while, and that was fun. But now it’s become clear that Samuels wasn’t just making a heroic gesture — he’s really just in it for himself.
His suit seeks not only recovery of his full trust fund, but up to $2 million in damages. And when Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of liquidating Madoff’s estate, wrote Samuels a letter this week warning him that should he recover that money, the trustee would seize it “in order to distribute such amounts to all of the victims of the fraud,” Samuels’s lawyer had a hissy fit.
“I wish that the trustee would spend the time trying to help the real victims of the Madoff fraud and leave Andrew alone,” Stephen Schlesinger, Samuels’s lawyer, said in a phone interview. “This is a threat to my client, who had a personal claim against Peter Madoff. He was wronged by Peter … An attempt … to recover any amounts that our client may be successful in recovering from Peter Madoff would run afoul of the general principles of equity and fairness.”
This is just absurd. Wouldn’t this kid getting his money back — and above and beyond what he actually lost — when no one else does run afoul of the general principles of equity and fairness?