Making off like Madoff

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

by Blair Bless

December marks nine years since Ponzi-king Bernie Madoff made his perp walk into the U.S. District Courthouse in Manhattan. Last month, the Justice Department announced that over 24,000 of Madoff’s victims will begin receiving payments totaling $772.5 million. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

In all, nearly $4 billion will be dispersed from the government’s Madoff Victim Fund. Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein says it will be “the largest restoration of forfeited property in history.”

Unfortunately, the victims of the President Trump’s past financial machinations will never fully be compensated for the large sums of money they lost through Citizen Trump’s misdeeds, mismanagement and misrepresentations.

These include investors in Trump’s defunct casino properties, hotels, and resorts and enrollees in his Trump University and other risky business ventures bearing his name. Not to mention vendors, contractors, and small business owners who were never able to be made whole by Mr. Trump.

All those lawyers who defended Citizen Trump, keeping him personally solvent while his investors got burned? Somewhere tucked in the president’s safe is a register with the names of great legal minds who got stiffed out of enormous fees as well.

When questioned about his bankruptcies, Citizen Trump said everything he did was within the law. While he, his family, and the Trump Organization regularly walk a slippery slope in their business dealings, he is for the most part right.

Good tax attorneys and bankruptcy lawyers tender good legal advice with the expectation they’ll be paid handsomely for their efforts. Which is what attorneys defending the president against charges of alleged illegal business practices, collusion, and obstruction of justice are doubtless anticipating.

While the four bankruptcies the president acknowledges total a fraction of “other people’s money” that Bernie Madoff made off with, upwards of thousands of Citizen Trump’s backers lost billions. Granted, some of those burned were banks, but those institutions have shareholders, investors both large and small.

A truckload of Trump Premium Vodka couldn’t wash away the woes of anyone having had financial dealings with Mr. Trump or his “Organization.”

President Trump’s latest financial boondoggle is the House and Senate iterations of a tax reform bill. He shilled for Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell big time. Not to mention Wall Street millionaires, interested parties like the Kochs, the Mercers, the DeVos Family, Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross, and every other one-percenter and major corporation in America.

And with passage of the respective bills in both Houses and reconciliation underway, the salesman-in-chief has proven he’s no apprentice.

He is the consummate promoter, having hit many economically-festering states — both red and blue — whose voters put him into office; ordinary folks who believe the president has their best interests at heart. But Donald J. Trump has no one’s best interests at heart other than his own. Never has.

The president said this “big, beautiful tax cut” will “cost me a fortune… Believe me… I have some very wealthy friends. Not so happy with me… .”

When someone continually implores you to believe them, don’t.

The only people who won’t be so happy with the president will, inevitably, be the people who believed in him, trusted him, and voted for him. The ones he allegedly cares about.

When a traveling salesman can’t deliver on his promises, he leaves behind lots of angry customers; in this case the American people, who will pay a heavy price for his lies. They say the customer is always right. Until the salesman proves them wrong.

The tax plan the president and Republicans have sold the public is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme of epic proportion. There will be no “victim fund” for us.

The question is, will President Trump’s be the first perp walk across the White House lawn? And will Ryan, McConnell and their minions be following close behind?

BLAIR BESS is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer and columnist. He edits the online blog, and can be reached at