You might say that Norman Braman is a ‘Regalado-r‘ of his money, but only if you have the following in your background:
- Rudimentary Spanish language skills.
- Familiar with Miami and the new stadium politics.
- Familiar with Bernard Madoff.
- Have a deep and abiding love of bad humor.
- Have no reasonable expectations of being hired by Mr Braman to sue anyone or anything involved in the stadium deal.
- Have no reasonable expectations to inherent anything from Mr Braman. Because if that were a possibility, the distinction between Mr Madoff and Mr Braman’s stadium lawyers is lost upon you.
Ever had stuff you really should be doing, but another more pleasurable task drew you away, despite your best intentions. You’re reading my distraction. Don’t be too hard on yourself, after all you could be Norman Braman. His distraction, blocking a new baseball stadium in Little Havana, might have cost him the millions of dollars he eventually lost with Bernard Madoff. This of course assumes that even if he had tried to focus on his investment with Madoff, he would be sharp enough to have noticed the fraud which was so obvious to Harry Markopolos and Laura Goldman.
A few news items all came together in my head this week. Last night, I watched my DVR’d 60 Minutes broadcast, specifically the segment on the financial analyst [Markopolos] who had been warning the SEC about Madoff, but was ignored. Earlier in the week, I had seen a blog post in Freakonomics about another analyst, Laura Goldman, who also had determined that Madoff was a fraud. It took those two financial analysts, 5 and 45 minutes respectively, to realize that there was something amiss with Madoff’s claims. Finally, the week began with Tomas Regalado disclosing in a debate that seven different Norman Braman businesses had contributed to his mayoral campaign. Regalado, you will not be surprised to learn, is the anti-stadium candidate.
Braman sitting alone in his office as an aide walks in. ‘Sir, Mr Regalado keeps calling, I think you should take it.’ Braman looks exasperated, his arms flop on his chair-handles, palms up. ‘First of all, I can barely understand that man. Besides, he knows I’m maxed-out on contributions; what else does he want from me?’ Aide responds with a dead-on impersonation of Tony Montana, ‘a couple of tickets to the resurrection?’ Braman returns an unblinking unamused stare. The aide regrets the remark as soon as he says it–like the time he told his wife that seeing their newborn child was the first time he knew what real love was–spontaneity was always a bad idea around ‘Stormin Norman,’ that’s just the way he was. People with money get nicknames, the rest of us get deep-sixed when we are rude or obnoxious. ‘God, I just hope it’s not another cousin,’ Braman mumbles as he resigns himself to take the call.
‘Tomasitooo!!! How are ya …. yes, yes, we expect the trial to go smoothly … my people have a very good feeling about this … aw you’re too kind …. listen I always like to tell people, it’s not about me … aw you’re too kind … I know you do, I know you do … and it’s appreciated … hey, it’s only money [laughter ... more laughter].’
Meanwhile an email from an old friend warning about Madoff sat in his Outlook inbox, ignored for now, he was just so busy with the trial, interviews, and dinner parties thanking him for his courage in standing up to ‘those’ people. He definitely had tapped into some serious pent-up resentment in local penthouses–you can’t miss ‘em, they’re the ones actually lit at night, giving off an unintended Christmas tree or Lighthouse effect all year long]. Who knew the Arsht-loving, cafecito-hating, Miami-bashing [the 'this could have been such a great city if it wasn't for' ... riff] crowd were so upset? Hell, they didn’t even mind him getting in bed with Regalado! Whatever it takes, baby. He would of course eventually notice the Madoff-warning email later–when it was useless–and immediately erased it on the advice of an excellent psychotherapist.
What’s in your inbox?