Morning Brief: Scheme Claims Local Victims

The Madoff scheme appears to have some local victims. Staff writer Megan Greenwell reports today that the umbrella group that provides funds to almost every Jewish nonprofit group in the Washington region might have lost more than $10 million to the widening scandal.

The investment firm operated by Bernard L. Madoff collapsed last week in what is perhaps one of the largest securities frauds in history.

Greenwell reports that the Rockville-based Jewish Federation of Greater Washington had almost 10 percent of its endowment invested with Madoff, who was charged last week after confessing to his sons that he had taken $50 billion from investors. The endowment fund is one of dozens of Jewish organizations across the country, including an apparent handful in the Washington area, that invested with Madoff.

Both Virginia and Maryland are increasingly making deep cuts in their state workforces and pushing both closer to more reductions in prized education and health-care programs due to the poor state of the economy.

In Virginia, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) is expected Wednesday to propose the third round of layoffs of state employees in a year, as well as a cigarette tax increase. With the elimination of 1,100 filled positions, the state will have shed about 2 percent of its employees in recent months.

In Maryland, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced Tuesday that he is requiring more than 67,000 state employees to take as many as five days of unpaid leave to relieve pressure on the current year's budget.

The grim outlook in both states has been blamed largely on an anemic economy that is severely undercutting anticipated collections of income and sales taxes as well as other key revenue sources.

When an eviction crew arrives at a home in the Washington area, handling personal items is a delicate act. Staff writer Monica Hesse joined the All Seasons Eviction company one late fall morning, with the temperature hovering just above freezing. Check out the story here.

And in inauguration news, District bars and nightclubs will be allowed to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., not 5 a.m., during inauguration week. The D.C. Council voted Tuesday night to modestly scale back the emergency legislation it approved two weeks ago.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  December 17, 2008; 9:37 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Morning Brief
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