At high noon yesterday, federal marshals seized Bernard Madoff's $7 million Manhattan co-op apartment and most of its contents. Ruth Madoff left the apartment shortly before the feds arrived and changed the locks. Marshals also are seizing the couple's homes in Montauk, N.Y, and Palm Beach, Fla. The forfeiture order specified that all "readily salable" personal property in the co-op be handed over to the government, including a $39,000 Steinway piano and a $65,000 set of silverware. The government plans to sell the goods--details on how and when yet to come--and use the proceeds to help make restitution to investors victimized by Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme.
I have beach houses and vacations on the mind this week--probably because I'm not going to enjoy much of either this summer. It's just too busy with family responsibilities and other duties to carve out a week on the Delaware shore. But a little searching showed that rentals are still available, even around Independence Day.
We're getting more details on the Obama Administration's proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency. According to proposed legislation the Treasury Department sent to Capitol Hill yesterday, this big, new federal umbrella would cover a lot of services that touch homeowners and buyers directly. It would become a one-stop-shop to regulate mortgage lenders, replacing the patchwork of federal and state regulators that now cover the lending industry.
I was thinking about the pre-departure routines we've developed around my house. So far, these steps--and a generous dollop of good luck--have kept the house safe when we temporarily abandoned it.
My first post-accident Metro ride was on Wednesday, two days after last week's horrible crash. As the train s-l-o-w-l-y pulled into the station, I felt sorry for the driver, who was practically alone in the front car. And then I joined the crowd boarding at the middle of the train. It seemed the logical choice, at least until investigators figure out what caused one train to crash into the back of another--and how to keep it from happening again. Now I'm wondering what would happen if our subway system, which for a long time was so clean and safe that tourists saw it as a fun component of any trip to the Nation's Capital, were to develop a reputation as unsafe. Proximity to a Metro station adds real value to homes, especially if they're within walking distance.