Alleged Madoff Ponzi scheme has Aspen’s Jewish community reeling

The ripple effects of Bernard Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme in which up to $50 billion of investors’ assets have disappeared are reaching all the way to Aspen, where Glitter Gulch’s large and wealthy Jewish community is reeling from the news.

According to the Aspen Times, many members of Aspen’s three Jewish congregations were victims of Madoff’s massive alleged fraud, which could have major implications for the ski town’s already reeling real estate industry.

While Aspen’s alleged victims were understandably tight-lipped and embarrassed about being caught up in Madoff’s web, according to the Times, it’s apparent that some big names are likely to surface as more details become available.

The paper reported real estate and media mogul Mortimer Zuckerman — owner the New York Daily News and the U.S. World & News Report — sold his Red Mountain home near Aspen for $9 million a month ago and may be one of Madoff’s victims.

A charitable trust controlled by Zuckerman may have been drained by the scheme.

“I never knew Mr. Madoff, never heard of him, and then last Friday I get the notice that the entire fund has been lost because of Mr. Madoff’s activities,” Zuckerman told Business Week earlier this week. “So, obviously, it’s going to affect the ability of this [charity] to do more things. Thirty million is a lot of money that I intended to spend for the welfare of others.”

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.