The alleged Ponzi scheme run by New York investor Bernard Madoff counted at least two restaurateurs among its pigeons. The Los Angeles Times reported today that La Brea Bakery founder Nancy Silverton invested millions in what investors believe was a scam of historic proportions. The exact amount she lost was not revealed by Silverton, now a co-owner with Mario Batali of Hollywood’s Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza hotspots. But figures cited in the Times web posting suggest the amount exceeded $5 million.
Silverton told the Times she was warned by her father not to park all that dough with Madoff, but she spurned the advice.
The revelation follows a report yesterday by Bloomberg News that a Florida restaurateur was also stung—and may be taken a second time. The story noted that the restaurateur asked to remain anonymous in hopes of recovering the $1.5 million that is still held by Madoff’s firm. It also raised the possibility that the restaurateur will have to return $500,000 he withdrew as profits from the account and used as a mortgage before the scandal broke.
The story quotes the restaurateur as saying he would rather go to jail than give back the money, arguing that he didn’t know Madoff might’ve been running a scam.
Even restaurants that put no money in Madoff’s hands may be a bit poorer for the purported scam being busted. Reports indicate that Madoff enjoyed high-end restaurants like The Palm, and was pleasant to the staff as well as free-spending.