Former Hadassah CFO: Bernie and Me


Sheryl Weinstein, an accountant and a former chief financial officer at Hadassah, has been one of Bernie Madoff’s outspoken victims. She has book coming out later this month in which she not only talks about how the con man stole her family’s savings. And publishers are playing up a new wrinkle — Weinstein claims to have had an affair with Madoff, after the two met while she was on the job at Hadassah.

She and Hadassah have both said that the first $7 million the organization invested with Madoff in 1988 came from a donor who insisted on the money being handled that way. The organization had invested another $33 million with him by 1996, the year before Weinstein left the organization. By the time federal authorities exposed the Ponzi scheme last year, Hadassah thought that the value of the portfolio had grown to $90 million —  not including $130 million that hit had pulled out over the years.

From Bloomberg:

Weinstein, 60, has denounced Madoff publicly at least four times this year, including at the June 29 court hearing where he was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison for masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Weinstein told the judge she met Madoff 21 years ago when she was chief financial officer at Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America Inc. …Weinstein spoke several times to the media this year about Madoff without detailing their personal relationship. On the night before Madoff’s March 12 guilty plea, she joined 20 victims on Fox Business Network. She said she met Madoff when a donor gave $7 million to Hadassah and directed Madoff to manage the money. …

“You’re starting out with a donor of considerable means certainly at that time who basically said to me privately that we could trust him,” Weinstein told Fox.

After a few months, she said, Hadassah began to invest its own money with Madoff and “it did very well,” Weinstein said.

On Dec. 29, Hadassah said in a “Dear Friends” letter that a French donor had given $7 million in 1988, specifying that the money “remain with Bernard Madoff, where it was then invested.” Over the next decade, Hadassah put in another $33 million, raising its total investment to $40 million by 1997, when it stopped adding principal.

Click here to read the letter that Hadassah’s current president, Nancy Falchuk, issued last year about the organization’s investments with Madoff.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Hadassah says the organization did not know of the alleged affair during Weinstein’s tenure at the organization. She did serve on the investment committee that decided to put some of its money with Madoff, but she was one of many members of the committee. The spokesperson said that Hadassah is "moving on" from Madoff, noting that the organization recently received a $1 million gift and is close to securing two more.

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