The New York City penthouse where imprisoned fraudster Bernard Madoff spent his last few days of freedom with his wife Ruth is set to go on sale later this week, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The seven-room duplex with a wraparound terrace on Manhattan's east side is expected to fetch about $8 million to $10 million, which will be used to reimburse victims of the biggest Ponzi scheme ever.
The co-op apartment, which will be listed by a broker later this week, still sports the Madoffs' Persian rugs, chandeliers and baby grand Steinway piano, according to a press pool video released by the Marshals Service on Tuesday.
Except for the FBI tag labels on each piece of furniture and dozens of cardboard boxes packed with designer clothing and kitchen wares, it looks almost as if the Madoffs could return any minute from a vacation.
A leather bull still sits perched on a table in Bernard Madoff's office, original art still hangs on the walls, and the Madoffs' Baccarat crystal water glasses are still in the cupboards.
But Roland Ubaldo, the deputy U.S. Marshal who showed the apartment to the media this week, was quick to say that the penthouse had a much more personal touch when it was seized in July by U.S. authorities.
Federal marshals took possession of the Madoffs' penthouse on July 2, forcing Ruth Madoff to leave her home and surrender nearly all her belongings. She was only allowed to keep a few personal effects and a reasonable amount of clothing, Ubaldo said.
Bernie Madoff didn't need anything from the apartment because he is given everything he needs by the Bureau of Prisons, Ubaldo said in reference to the 150-year prison term Madoff began serving this summer.
Standing in front of the Madoffs' closets, Ubaldo described the 50 or 60 custom-made suits he left behind, as well as the dozens of monogrammed dress shirts.
The penthouse is the second of the Madoffs' four properties to be listed for sale.
The U.S. Marshals hope to list the couple's Palm Beach mansion later this week as well, while their beachfront home in Montauk, Long Island, is already gaining more attention from prospective buyers than expected after it was listed last week, Ubaldo said.
The U.S. authorities do not have control of a chateau the Madoffs owned in Cap D'Antibes, France, but do also plan to sell the Madoffs' yachts and other personal effects.
However, of all the properties, the 4,000-square-foot penthouse where Madoff spent his time under house arrest may be the most infamous of his homes. A desk by the window where Madoff was photographed last February typing on a laptop and sipping a beer stands in the same location.
On the tour of the apartment, Ubaldo noted how everything had been purchased based on lies and deceit. He pointed out the Madoffs' custom-made canopy bed frame and matching floral-upholstered bedroom furniture, a Sub Zero refrigerator in the updated kitchen and the hand-carved antique furniture pieces and a Biedermeier wall clock.
The brick terrace, adorned with trees and wispy potted perennials, has a nearly 360-degree view of Manhattan. It also has a park bench.
An auction of the apartment's contents will be held once the U.S. Marshals select an auctioneer and have sold the properties and yachts, Ubaldo said.
According to court documents, the Madoffs' Steinway is valued at $39,000, clocks, lamps, lighting fixtures and sconces are worth about $1.7 million, and paintings, prints and photographs are valued at about $1.6 million.
The exact price of the penthouse, which occupies the 11th and 12th floors of 133 East 64th Street, will be set by the broker, Ubaldo said.
Although it does have the Madoff name attached to it, I believe the dark cloud has lifted and we're going to get prospective buyers for this property, Ubaldo said.
This is a great piece of property.