NEW YORK It's still not cheap, but Livin' La Vida Madoff may now cost a bit less. Asking prices for homes once occupied by now imprisoned Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff in Manhattan's Upper East Side and in Palm Beach, Florida, have been cut, after about two months on the market.
Madoff's 4,000-square-foot duplex Manhattan penthouse, "perched atop a distinguished white-glove prewar cooperative" according to the broker Sotheby's International Realty, is now being offered for $8.9 million, 10 percent below its initial $9.9 million asking price.
The price of the 8,750-square-foot home in Palm Beach was cut 7 percent to $7.9 million from $8.49 million, according to the broker Corcoran Group. Corcoran calls that home "a return to classic Florida island living" of the 1950s and 1960s "when Palm Beach was a less manicured tropical paradise."
In contrast, Madoff's beachfront home sold last month for $9.41 million, above its $8.75 million asking price, and also listed by Corcoran. Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, was the buyer, The Wall Street Journal said.
Corcoran did not immediately return requests for comment. Madoff himself estimated the Manhattan penthouse was worth $7 million and the Palm Beach home $11 million.
Sale proceeds will go toward reimbursing victims of Madoff's estimated $65 billion Ponzi scheme.
U.S. Marshal Joseph Guccione said the price for the Manhattan penthouse was reduced "in response to current market conditions" and to attract more potential buyers.
Irving Picard, the trustee supervising the liquidation of Madoff's investment firm, last month said he had recovered $1.4 billion of Madoff assets. That's just 7 percent of the $21.2 billion of investor losses he had identified.
An auction is scheduled for Saturday at a Sheraton hotel in Manhattan of items once used by Madoff and his wife Ruth, including Rolex watches, Hermes and Prada handbags, and a satin New York Mets baseball jacket emblazoned with Madoff's name.
Proceeds are expected to be at least several hundred thousand dollars, according to low estimates from the U.S. Marshals Service and Gaston & Sheehan Auctioneers Inc, (www.txauction.com), and also go to Madoff victims.
Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence in North Carolina.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Dave Zimmerman)