Irving Picard’s Pricey Pickle Post Madoff

Irvingpicard1 300x159 Irving Picards Pricey Pickle Post Madoff

The PR Verdict: “C” for Irving Picard.

Irving Picard is in a pickle.  The trustee seeking to recover funds for victims of Bernard Madoff is caught in his own headlines.  How much has been repaid to bilked investors so far?  Around $330 million.  And how much has been charged in legal fees by the trustee (ie Picard) to return that sum? Why  since you asked, around $544 million.  What a pricey pickle!

Eyebrows are being raised that Picard has been more successful at collecting fees for himself and chummy colleagues than returning money to investors.  The NY Times yesterday claimed that though settlement deals totaling $9 billion have been reached, only $330 million has been paid out.  The vast bulk remains tied up in endless court challenges.

Picard declined to be interviewed. His spokeswoman pointed out that so far he has recovered over $7 million a day for cheated investors.  Nice one but let’s face it, rather theoretical until the monies are paid out.  In any case, went the response, the legal fees are drawn from a fund provided by the securities industry to pay for precisely this sort of thing.  Bottom line? The money doesn’t come from recovered Madoff funds.  The securities industry is paying trustee Picard’s fees.

The PR Verdict: “C” for Irving Picard.  Is there a cheaper way to do this? With over $500 million in fees no explanation sounds particularly convincing but adding mitigating factors and some context helped.

PR Takeaway:  When things look bad, add context.  Yes the fees are large but they are paid out of  a fund provided by the securities industry to cover precisely this sort of issue.  Claiming $7 million a day has been recouped for Madoff investors is a nice headline – even if most of it is still held up in the courts and unpaid. Next time why not talk about the other side? Mention was made by Picard’s PR of the relentless attacks by “opposing law firms and their clients with deep pockets.”   A few more metrics to describe the squadrons of lawyers assigned to oppose settlements might have bolstered the only credible defense; firepower is needed to beat firepower.

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Tired of Working in Porn? Why Not Become a Realtor?

realtor2 Tired of Working in Porn? Why Not Become a Realtor?

The PR Verdict “F” for Prudential and Corcoran and the other firms whose brokers were quoted.

Tired of working in porn? Didn’t make it as a prima ballerina?  Best days as a famous hand model over? Then why not become a New York realtor?  As a Managing Director at Prudential Douglas Elliman told the NYTimes yesterday, people come to NYC  “with a dream ….often times those dreams don’t pan out….and then you start looking at alternative careers.”

Yesterday’s front-page article on the city’s realtor business featured a diverse range of brokers.  All had previously worked in an initial career (usually more colorful) and then migrated to real estate sales, as their favoured career stalled.  Being a realtor, intimated the article, is the default safety-net for the career lost.

Prudential, one of Manhattan’s leading realtors, had a number of  its brokers quoted, including a fashion designer and former porn star (above) but oddly no comment from the firm itself.  Where was the corporate PR to provide some balance to the personal tales of those interviewed?

The PR Verdict: “F” for Prudential and Corcoran and the other firms whose brokers were quoted.   Fine to have the narcissist broker grab a headline but what does it say about the rest of the firm and those who work there?

While this was always going be a lighter hearted article, a comment from a corporate PR talking about how diverse employees bring in diverse listings and clients would have made a better business case.  Instead one couldn’t help wondering if the porn studio, or ballet troupe came knocking again, the ranks of these firms would be quickly deserted.  Given that clients pay average fees of 6 percent of the sale price,  management might want to take a more visible role in how articles like this position their firm.

To read the NYTimes article click here.

What’s you PR Verdict on the coverage?

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