Stories that caught my attention:
1. Madoff name change – The name “Madoff” is too much of a “burden” for a daughter-in-law of Wall Street’s most notorious fraudster as Stephanie Madoff, is seeking legal approval to drop the last name becasue she is embarrassed, or because she stands a chance of keeping her assets. You decide which reason.
Stephanie Madoff has filed legal papers to formally change her surname, and those of her two young children, to “Morgan”. She explains that her father-in-law, who is serving a 150-year jail sentence for masterminding a $65 billion Ponzi scheme has received a lot of press for defrauding numerous investors in his companies and I guess she doesn’t want the general public to feel that her family was the beneficiary of anything from that fraud.
I’m sure no one believes that. Personally I think she’s trying to get under the radar and keep her assets.
Stephanie Madoff is married to Bernard Madoff’s eldest son, Mark, who happened to have worked with his father at Madoff Investment Securities, but denies any knowledge of his father’s fraud (giggle), Mark and his younger brother, Andrew, have both had their assets frozen as a liquidator seeks to reclaim funds from them to reimburse victims.
The application for a name change says Stephanie Madoff wants to avoid the “embarrassment, harassment and endangerment associated with the name”. Her husband has filed an affidavit saying he has no objection, though he intends to keep his father’s name himself. The couple have a three-year-old daughter, Audrey, and a one-year-old son, Nicholas.
Bernard Madoff has been labelled as the biggest con man in financial history since he admitted at the end of 2008 that his fund management business had been a pyramid scheme for decades, using new deposits to pay out fantasy profits to past investors without doing any genuine trading (Ponzi scheme). So while investors believed they had $65 billion of savings, liquidators have only been able to retrieve a few million dollars.
Madoff’s over 5,000 victims included hedge funds, Jewish charities and private investors including well known names such as the film director Steven Spielberg, Nobel Prize winning author Elie Wiesel and the actor Kevin Bacon. At least two cases of suicide have been linked to Madoff’s crimes.
In November, US marshals service raised more than $1 million by auctioning off Madoff’s personal belongings, with lots ranging from clothing to dog bowls, golf shoes and boogie boards. I think the US Marshalls need to look long and hard at every member of that family. Putting a 71 year old in jail is not going to recover those funds. Putting the entire family on the street and selling all their assets, may.
2. Tim Horton’s making lots of cash – and coffee and donuts too.
Tim Hortons Inc. brewed up a bigger profit in its latest quarter and is preparing to serve up higher dividends for its shareholders. The Ontario-based restaurant company says it has boosted the dividend range and will raise its quarterly payout by 30 per cent, to 13 cents per common share.
Tim Hortons had profit of $91-million, a 32-per-cent gain from the year-earlier profit. Revenue increased by 9.2 per cent, to $615.3-million in the three-months ended Dec. 31 from $563.7-million a year earlier.
Tim’s says sales at its stores accelerated each month of the quarter and the momentum continued into the current year.
Same-store sales, which compare locations open for at least a year, were up 3.4% in Canada during the quarter, compared to 2.1% in the US.
3. Tiger Woods – Spayed or Neutered?
PETA has sharpened its claws in a new ad mocking Tiger Woods as the animal-rights organization plans to erect a billboard near Woods’ Windermere, Fla. home which reads: “Too much sex can be a bad thing… for little tigers too. Help keep our cats (and dogs) out of trouble: Always spay or neuter!”
4. Carly Simon reveals “You’re So Vain” clue.
In a new version of the 1972 hit song,” the singer whispers a name during an instrumental break. Played backward, the name is revealed to be “David”, believed to be record executive David Geffen. NBC executive Dick Ebersol paid $50,000 at a charity auction for the revelation and a live performance of the song.
There is a theory which revolves around the idea that Simon recorded the song to express displeasure at Geffen’s signing of a rival, Joni Mitchell, for his record label, Asylum Records.
Simon is on record as being uncomfortable with Geffen.
Simon has kept the identity of the “You’re So Vain” character a secret although rumors have focused on Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger and Kris Kristofferson, among others. Beatty has said he believes it’s about him. Simon has said that “You’re So Vain” wasn’t the only song about the man, whomever it might be, and there are “clues” in other songs.
Whatever the answer is, Simon has been tickled that a song’s puzzle — now almost 38 years old — could still have such a hold on the public. I’m sure she is still amused that people care and ask…
5. One of the 8 children belonging to Marie Osmond has committed suicide.