Wednesday, January 4, 2017



"I am probably the only person in the world
who was screwed twice by Bernie Madoff."

SHERYL WEINSTEIN was Chief Financial Officer for the esteemed Jewish Woman's Charity, Hadassah, when she met Bernie Madoff in 1988.  He was considered an investment wizard and was eventually busted for generating a massive Ponzi scheme involving billions of dollars.  The scheme negatively effected an estimated 3 million people. Her testimony in court, focusing on her and her husband's personal financial looses, helped the Judge decide on a sentence for Madoff of 150 years. That was on June 29, 2009 and that same year, Sheryl published her memoir. Since then other Madoff employees have also been convicted and sentenced and are serving time.
Sheryl and Bernie were both married when they tentatively and tenderly began a sweet hot extramarital relationship that took years of friendship, flirtation, and temptation to build.   It was 1993 when they finally escalated their emotional bond to full sexuality. It seems Bernie was serious enough about Sheryl to not pressure her.  He enjoyed her and respected her need for a very slow seduction.

At this point in my review here, I want to tell my readers that this is a bit of re-write being done on January 7, 2016.  The reason is that I lost my book and notes, but I decided to reread the book using an e-reader.  I've just started using an e-reader and it's a different experience than turning the pages of a good old fashioned paper published book.  I have to wonder if that experience has altered my original opinion.  Later this month I will be quoting and excerpting from the e-reader version.
Throughout their relationship, Sheryl was, by professional position, responsible for Hadassah's investments.  It wasn't until after she put her life savings of $70,000 into her lover's hands, that their sexuality escalated, probably because of the reveal of trust, which would be exploited.  Sheryl's book is highly detailed about the slow seduction and her difficult marriage, but when it comes to the Ponzi scheme she says she was entirely innocent of the wrong doing going on. Though I tend to believe her, because after all so very many were fooled, her memoir seemed to establish that she was curiously able to have a deep emotional connection with a man later popularly thought to be a sociopath. 

Their mutual adultery involved lunches for business and dinners for love for five years before they actually had sex the way ex President William "Bill" Clinton would define it.  Even when it was over she considered Bernie to be a close friend.
Why was Sheryl so unhappy in her marriage that she had this adventure?  She explains that it took years for her husband to be diagnosed with adult attention deficit disorder.  She says she endured years of emotional and psychological, verbal abuse.  But she is still married to that man.
I'm going to level with you.   While I tended to believe her, I was annoyed with Sheryl Weinstein for much of this book.  I felt that by detailing the slow seduction she was trying to prove her innocence wasn't just about finances, but that she was "not that kind of girl."

I knew Sheryl wasn't a professional writer, anymore than Ginger Alden, once the young Mistress waiting for marriage to Elvis Presley wasGinger, in her memoir titled "Elvis and Ginger" that we covered here at Mistress Manifesto BlogSpot in March 2015, told her story in a simple way, managing to give us a good idea the way she thought when she was a 20-something, summoned to the King's house in Memphis as if to be a member of his court.
She had quickly moved in with the much older Elvis, and he was controlling and spoiling but even then, a beauty queen from the South, Ginger was not this innocent.
Sheryl, in her early 40's when she had her years long Extra-Marital Relationship with Bernie, had it all over the 20 something Ginger. I simply had difficulty believing that a woman with an excellent education, a high powered career that involved meeting with wealthy people all over the world, and very married for years, could be as sweetly unquestioning of her man as Ginger had been.
Sheryl's small town was Manhattan and the Upper East Side of New York City.  She was a career woman with a closet full of suits who dined in fine restaurants, and talked to people who were donating millions to Hadassah. (Her travels were never with Bernie though they both checked their busy schedules and got together a couple times when they happened to be in the same place.) Sheryl was ambitious for her own career.  Her only son went to expensive schools and summer camps that she afforded on her salary and when he grew up, she was more than ready for him to leave home.

She had plenty of time to bolt away from Madoff.  Their affair stretched about 7 years, including the first five in which it was more of a growing emotional bond sans sex. And, she was conflicted enough to be afraid to meet up with his wife in some social setting and found the sneaking around exciting.  He told her he cared for her. (I believe him.)  He told her that she was not just beautiful and sexy but "You're an accomplished businesswoman.  That's a knockout combination."*

So, you think, what was her problem?

Sheryl mentions having seen therapists for years, a number of them, admits to wondering to herself why she was staying in a marriage with her husband Ronnie, a difficult man who she clearly did not like, especially as the discontent came early.  She vaguely blames a not perfect childhood.  While some people have truly horrible childhoods, I don't know anyone who claims to have had a perfect childhood.  Childhood doesn't always define us for life.

I'm glad Sheryl didn't get too analytical or blaming, because it all sounds like garden variety angst to me. Nothing as horrendous as our Mistress of the Month of May 2015, Marita Lorenz, who suffered in Nazi Germany when she was raped as a child! 


 But...You know women like her and may be one; ripe for an affair, just hanging off the tree ready for the picking, for years!   What I read here is that she was so neglected or unfulfilled in her marriage that she needed Madoff's admiration.  She needed to know a man found her beautiful and sexy.  And he needed that from her too.
So, I tried to adjust my snarky attitude.  When I got the book, I didn't suspect that Sheryl or her book would explain to me how Bernie managed to pull off his scheme that ultimately ripped off millions of people and charitable organizations in the United States, Israel, France... and it didn't. The book was best as a memoir of a seven years affair, which was kept entirely secret from both parties' spouses until this book was written and published not long after the scandal hit the press.
But I think this; if Bernie Madoff had not become a world-infamous financial fraudster, Sheryl would have taken the affair in stride, kept the friendship, kept in touch, kept it secret from the world, and maybe even her husband, because that's what mature people who have had their life enhanced, or even made livable, by meet ups in fine hotel rooms and restaurants with others gently do. 
Here at Mistress Manifesto BlogSpot, we look at how to define the word "Mistress", careful not to include just any person who has an affair as such, especially not those tell-all- to-the-tabloids-types who simply slept with a celebrity and want to brag about it.  Some of those people say they were lied to when really no one was asking too many questions when they were so new into it.  We know two legally married people such as Sheryl and Bernie are committing adultery, but that doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot about the quality or endurance of the relationship.  I couldn't call her a Mistress on that basis, any more than I could call him her Master.
What makes Sheryl Weinstein the once-upon-a-time Mistress of Bernie Madoff is the emotionality and duration of their extra-marital relationship, the fact that they remained friends afterwards and had a deep hard-to-break-it off emotional connection, the fact that they could confide in each other when they apparently could not so much with their legal spouses, and that there was actually a lot of respect for each other there.  How many experienced adult men do you know that would be satisfied to meet a woman in hotel rooms just to talk, have dinner, tease, tempt, and pet, for years before finally getting to what ex President Bill Clinton would suppose counts as sex? 
Arguably, another Mistress quality Sheryl had was knowing from the beginning to the end, that he was never going to leave his wife.  (At times she felt ready to leave her husband.) 
So truthfully, while we the people have come to think of this man as a monster because he was committing a dangerous fraud that hurt so very many people, the man she portrays in this book, actually sounds like a nice man, even a good man!  He didn't lie to her about his personal life or feelings. He told her that they would never travel together, that he traveled alone or with his wife.

What was right about Bernie?
He was clean, neatly groomed, impeccable in his wardrobe and has a sense of style.  Maybe he was still a bit rough as a diamond, enough to make him feel a bit insecure when around his clients who were not self made, but he had acquired manners along with a taste and love of the good life. When it came to his luxury lifestyle, he put his wife and family first. He did start out legitimate and even esteemed, and supposedly at least one floor of his business remained legit.  Apparently, the authorities are still trying to figure it all out, but initially Madoff may have simply tried to please too many investors, figuring that at some point he'd make it all legal and right, lying to himself and deceiving himself that the scheme was workable.  He did not gamble (ironic?) and he did not drink.  They were sexually compatible.  He was gentle with her.
So you wonder, of course, what makes a person into a Ponzi schemer?
INVESTOPIA on PONZI SCHEMES  according to this site:
'The Ponzi scam is named after Charles Ponzi, a clerk in Boston who first orchestrated such a scheme in 1919.  A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors. This scam actually yields the promised returns to earlier investors, as long as there are more new investors. These schemes usually collapse on themselves when the new investments stop. 'You may have gotten yourself involved in a Ponzi -like scheme if you've ever sold a product that relied upon your constantly attracting sales people who would remain under you in a pyramid, as your income increased due to percentages you were getting from all the sales beneath you.  At some point there are only so many people who are not selling that product so it becomes difficult to attract yet more sales people and that's when the pyramid can grow no further.'

Have you ever been involved in a Ponzi sheme?  Many of you may not realize that you have been - sort of.
I've known a number of people who sold products like plastic containers, makeup, and vitamins, that relied on an ever bigger pyramid and a series of pay offs.  Rarely did someone get and stay at the top to where they could quit the job they hated and remain self supporting or achieve true wealth. 

Another example.  If you've ever participated in a chain letter, even if all that people were sending everyone on the list was a recipe, that is also a kind of Ponzi scheme.  (One of my friends got involved sending bikini underwear!  She got something like 300 pair in six weeks. Do you suppose the chain was started by the underwear manufacturers?) This is why chain letters, which often come with threats or warnings to those who break them through refusing to cooperate, are illegal in the U.S. Mail. 

Bernie Madoff had his strengths and weaknesses but Sheryl was flattered by him, attracted to him enough to make passes and advances, and he allowed her to pace their sexuality.  He tells her the truth about his marriage and his sons and his grandchildren.  Ruth and he were teenage sweethearts,  who met when she was 13 and he was 16. They were loyal to each other.  Ruth traveled with him considerably, maybe half of his time away was traveling with Ruth. When he told Sheryl that his secretary started feeling guilty making those hotel and restaurant reservations in person, so they wouldn't appear on Bernie's bills, Sheryl took over making the arrangement. Maybe if he was not so rich, Sheryl would not have been flattered by his attention.

Nowhere in this book is there any attempt made to say, "Well if Bernie Madoff was the kind of man to have an affair, or a Mistress, then that right there shows he has a flawed character and is capable of this multi- billon dollar Ponzi scheme."  If it had, then Sheryl's own character would be equally as monstrous, even if she was "Old Fashioned," enough to take it very slow sexually, or decided that on meds her ADD husband is a nice guy after all.  She was a full participant in the relationship.
In reading around this book on the Internet, I learned that after the scandal and the life sentence Bernie got, after the Madoffs had to give up most of their own wealth, Ruth was still sticking by him as a wife, until this book was published, about a year later.  Eventually though she did leave Bernie.
I've also read that none of the books on Madoff "Made A Killing!" 


Well, let's give Sheryl Weinstein her Mistress credentials but also Ruth Madoff's Wifely ones.  Is it wrong of me to think, "Ruth, you can't forgive the business man who screwed up like this, who has this karma now, but you can forgive the husband who had a Mistress!
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Notes: Book published October 2009.  All further quotes and excerpts from the book will be from the e-book version. * Chapter 5ive pages 259-260.)

Check out this article about the life of Bernie Madoff's long time wife, Ruth, who negotiated herself 2.5 million to live on and does so in a small New England town.
NY POST: THE SAD LIFE OF EXILED RUTH MADOFF  She does not visit Bernie in prison.

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