New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been branded a buffoon for saying the death of Bernie Madoff, whose $64billion criminal Ponzi scheme ruined thousands of lives, was ‘not a time to dance on a grave’.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday de Blasio was asked for his reaction to the death of the , who died of natural causes at the Federal Correctional Facility in Butner, North Carolina, on Wednesday.
‘Look, [it’s] a very sad episode in the history of this city, and a lot of people unfortunately were hurt,’ he said.
‘The day someone passes is not a time to dance on a grave, but let’s just be honest: Many, many people were hurt by his actions.
‘It’s time to hopefully turn the page and move forward,’ he said.
His remarks were met with anger online.
Fox Business personality Charles Gasparino Tweeted: ‘Comrade Bill shows sympathy for the Devil – De Blasio says Bernie Madoff’s death ‘not a time to dance on a grave’.
Another user, Ethan Mackin, wrote: ‘As per usual this buffoon picks the important battles’.
Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff leaves U.S. District Court in Manhattan after a bail hearing in New York in January 2009. He died on Wednesday aged 82
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who leaves office in November, said Madoff’s death was ‘not a time to dance on a grave’
Some Twitter users did not share de Blasio’s ‘sympathy for the devil’, with one branding him a ‘buffoon’
Madoff ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in US history, defrauding 37,000 victims in 136 countries of $64billion.
Madoff would scheme involved taking one’s money to pay off the other, and it lasted for two decades before he was finally being arrested in 2008 after his two adult sons turned him in.
The victims included celebrities, billionaires and people who could barely afford to invest with him in the first place. Some lost everything and at least one killed themselves over the fraud.
Among the high-profile victims were former Walt Disney Studios Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who lost millions after investing in Madoff’s finance company through Gerald Breslauer.
Prominent Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel laureate Ellie Wiesel, who died in 2016, reportedly lost $15 million.
Hollywood A-listers Steven Spielberg, couple Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick and John Malkovich, all lost undisclosed sums as well.
Hollywood power couple Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon were among Madoff’s high-profile victims. His two-decade long Ponzi scheme cheated 37,000 victims out of their savings
Former Walt Disney Studios Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, left, who lost millions after investing in Madoff’s finance company and Holocaust survivor Ellie Wiesel, right, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, reportedly lost $15 million
Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian-born celebrity, and talkshow host Larry King also lost significant investments through the Ponzi scheme.
As did former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, former Democratic New Jersey Frank Lautenberg, who charity invested $12.8 million, and businessman Ira Rennert, who reportedly lost as much as $200 million.
New York hedge fund executive Charles Murphy, whose fund lost $50 million in Madoff’s scheme, jumped from the 24th floor of the Sofitel New York Hotel in 2017.
French financier Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet killed himself in Manhattan in 2008 after losing more than $1 billion in the Ponzi scheme.
The fallout was felt keenly by the Madoff family as well.
One of Madoff’s sons, Mark, hanged himself in December 2010 on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest, and his other son Andrew died from lymphoma in 2014. His wife Ruth moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, after his arrest to live in exile. She never divorced him, but claims to have stopped speaking to him after their son Mark’s suicide.
In December 2008, Madoff was arrested at his Upper East Side penthouse after Mark and Andrew turned him in. He had confessed to them that there was no money in their family office, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, saying it was all ‘one big lie’.
‘He said, everything I’ve been doing is all a big lie. He said, the business is a Ponzi scheme, and the firm is completely insolvent and I’m broke. And then he just started sobbing,’ Andrew told CBS 60 Minutes in 2011.
Madoff had finally been forced to come clean because all of his clients came asking for redemption as a result of the 2008 crash.
De Blasio’s popularity sunk due to his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic in New York.
A Siena poll in January found he had an approval rating of just 28%, with former mayor Rudy Giuliani polling higher.