the kicker

Breaking: Bernie Madoff’s Beach House Has (Ew!) "Formica Countertops"

September 1, 2009

Reporters have been given a video walk-through of Bernie Madoff’s Montauk, New York beach house. And? Not so impressed.

This morning CNN’s Christine Romans sniffed:

Not very glamorous for the disgraced Ponzi schemer…

…as if she were showing viewers footage of a hoarder’s hovel stuffed with ceiling-high stacks of old catalogs or, at least, a candidate for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, rather than a $7 million oceanside home with a pool and long porch with columns and shelter magazine-minimalist wood flooring and built-ins…

…pretty understated, formica countertops, pretty smallish bedrooms, but the ocean views and it is built just 150 feet from the actual shore, which is something that federal zoning laws don’t allow anymore. So, for somebody, this could be a good purchase…

For somebody.

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Deputy U.S. Marshall Roland Ubaldo provided reporters with a video tour of the home in which he talks up the dwelling’s “nothing but ocean shoreline” view and its contents, “from the rocking chair Ruth Madoff may have sat on reading a book watching the waves roll in to the desk that Bernie Madoff used here” (all which will be auctioned off with proceeds to be shared among Madoff’s investors).

From Ubaldo’s footage the AP’s Tom Hays writes:

Those who see Bernard Madoff as an evil purveyor of excess might be disappointed by his beach house: It’s not that palatial.

Hays sounds “disappointed.” (Where’s the “excess?” Not, maybe, Trump enough?) More Hays:

At 3,014 square feet, the home is cottage-size by superrich standards. Its faded furnishings look as old as Madoff’s epic fraud. There’s no garage. Not even a walk-in closet…

…A tired set of leather couches, kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures appear to date to the 1980s.”

Slate‘s “The Slatest” slugs the story: “For Sale, Madoff’s Tacky Beach House” (bolding bits from the AP story about Madoff’s decor choices: “nautical-meets-folk art;” “a sculpture of howling wolves stands outside the front door; just inside is a large wooden goat.”)

And, while in the below CNBC footage correspondent Mary Thompson and colleagues do seem kind of impressed by the place, we see Deputy Marshall Ubaldo slipping and referring to Madoff’s beach house as “this apartment.”

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.