More lawsuits seek “clawback” in Madoff scam; Trustee responds to “clawback” criticism

The American Jewish World continues to research the aftermath of the Bernard Madoff investment fraud, and has found more clawback complaints against local Jews. As reported previously, Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee for the Madoff estate is trying to recover “fictitious profits” from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and distribute the proceeds to victims of the scam.Picard has filed around 1,000 lawsuits against those who transferred more out of their accounts with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities (BLMIS) than they put in. The lawsuits filed by Picard and his team of lawyers are trying to claw back funds from those they call “net winners” in the Ponzi scheme. The clawback period extends back six years from Dec. 11, 2008, the day Madoff, who is now serving a 150-year federal prison sentence, was arrested. Continue Reading

Singer-songwriter Debbie Friedman dies

The Forward said her music allowed all “to feel connected with sacred prayer even if they knew no Hebrew or were unfamiliar with the prayerbook.” The Jerusalem Post called her “a phenomenon.” But to Jews in Minnesota, Debbie Friedman was a neighbor, a friend. Friedman, a popular singer and songwriter who is widely credited with reinvigorating music in synagogues, died Sunday in Southern California, where she had been hospitalized with pneumonia. She was 59.”Debbie Friedman was an extraordinary treasure of our movement, and one of its most influential voices,” Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), said in a statement. Continue Reading

Let the people’s work begin

The first day of the session is a rite of passage. Hundreds of newcomers braved frigid temperatures to witness a family member or favorite lawmaker sworn into office while lobbyists and activists showed up at the people’s house Jan. 4 to stand up for their priorities. As the 2011 session begins, here are some concerns heard in the hallways of the State Capitol and a sprinkling of advice for members. Advice to the body: balance the budget Christine Flug of Eagan watched from the House Gallery as her sister, Rep. Diane Anderson (R-Eagan), took the oath of office. Continue Reading

Ready for the challenge

To call the 2011 session challenging could be an understatement. Legislators will have their plates full resolving the state budget deficit without hurting things like K-12 school funding, people with disabilities and the elderly, while at the same time creating jobs in hopes of rebounding the state’s economy. Helping a professional football team fund a home may also be discussed. Many of the decisions will be gut-wrenching and painful. Most of the easier changes have taken place in the last few years, and both Republicans and DFLers say that more one-time shifts are not the answer. Continue Reading

Homeless Minnesotans struggle during winter months

Facing freezing temperatures in the Twin Cities, homeless people of all ages suffer the most under these extreme circumstances. Are there enough shelters and beds for an increasing number of people looking for a stay for the next night? KFAI’s Raphael Schaefer reports. [Audio below.] Continue Reading