Monday, July 20, 2009

Good & Honorable

Three weeks ago I posted about Bernard Madoff when he was sentenced to 150 years for his dreadful Ponzi scheme. Today I want to introduce you to Robert I. Lappin age 87, of Swampscott, Massachusetts. Mr. Lappin is the polar opposite of Bernie Madoff. Mr. Lappin is a mensch. Robert Lappin lost approximately 90% of his personal wealth to Madoff’s thievery. Unfortunately, his eponymous charitable foundation was also invested with Madoff, as were his employees 401(k) retirement plans. Now Mr. Lappin, with the blessing of his family, is donating five million dollars to restore his employees retirement accounts. That five million represents more than half of his net worth, post Madoff’s depredations.

Mr. Lappin’s honorable and generous choice reminds me of another Massachusetts mensch named Aaron Feuerstein. Back in 1995, Mr. Feuerstein was the CEO of Malden Mills which was known for its “Polartec” polar fleece fabric. The mill burned down and Mr. Feuerstein continued to pay thousands of employees their regular salaries, plus benefits, while the mill was rebuilt in the same location.

All three men; Madoff, Lappin and Feuerstein are Jewish. Madoff used his heritage and his religion as a tool, a passport if you will, to target fellow Jews in an Affinity scheme designed to lure investors into his elaborate Ponzi scheme. Mr. Lappin and Mr. Feuerstein also relied on their heritage and their religion, as well as the Torah and the Talmud to inform their honorable and moral decisions.


Nana Fi said...

Sort of restores you faith in man kind this story. May the other one rot in hell. I watch Late Night with Dave Letterman...he really hates Bernie I would say. Fiona x

Roo said...

Madoff should be birched every day of his sentence. Harsh but fair...

As for the two upstanding guys trying to do the right thing, they should be applauded, my hat off to the both of them