From James B. Stewart’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Den of Thieves (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992) (p. 236):
By and large, investors reacted enthusiastically. The largest single investor – and in Nagle’s view one of the most mysterious – was Jeffrey Picower, who invested $28 million. Nagle had no idea where Picower’s money came from; he occupied an unmarked office suite in an anonymous Manhattan tower.
We now know where Picower’s money came from: tax shelters for wealthy clients; merger deals; pharmaceutical spin-outs; and being the major investor with Bernie Madoff. Stewart’s reportage is one of several ‘weak signals’ that are now more significant given the Madoff investment scandal revelations. Picower’s estate settled a Madoff trustee suit for $US7.2 billion in 2010.
Stewart’s description of Picower is also interesting in terms of financier elites. Picower, like the Theosophical Secret Chiefs or the Austra family of vampires in Elaine Bergstrom‘s Shattered Glass series, deflects attention from himself. The mysterious fortune; the unmarked office suite; and the anonymous Manhattan tower made Picower more enigmatic and understated in a period when Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe indulged in excesses. The true 1% perhaps remain in the shadows.