iOS app Android app

Sheryl Weinstein: Madoff Feared Wife's Reaction

LARRY NEUMEISTER   08/25/09 05:50 PM ET   AP

Weinstein

NEW YORK — An investor who says she had an affair 16 years ago with failed financier Bernard Madoff said Tuesday she described Madoff as "not well-endowed" because she thought the detail was key to understanding his personality.

Sheryl Weinstein, 60, described her 1 1/2-year sexual relationship with Madoff to The Associated Press, in one of a series of public appearances to promote her account of her affair, "Madoff's Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie and Me."

She said the affair with the man who lost billions of investors' money – including her family's fortune – followed a five-year buildup, in which Madoff pursued her from the moment they met.

She insisted Tuesday that she did not include her observation that Madoff was "not well-endowed" to seek revenge for losing her life savings.

"I happened to think that was one of the elements of what made Bernie tick. I think it had to do with his psyche," she said. "If we perhaps think we're not quite up to snuff, it does have an effect on our relationships, on our ego, on our self esteem."

Weinstein said it was no contradiction in the book – on sale at bookstores Tuesday – to describe sex with the disgraced financier as "surprisingly exciting." She added, "When we made love, I was on fire."

Weinstein said she met Madoff, now 71, at a business meeting when she was chief financial officer for the charitable women's organization Hadassah, where she had a role in investment decisions.

She was unapologetic for carrying on the alleged affair with Madoff while handling finances for Hadassah. She said she did not control investment decisions for the organization that had invested about $30 million with Madoff and withdrawn more than $130 million over the years.

"In the real world, there was no harm done to Hadassah," she said.

She said she decided to write the book five weeks after Madoff confessed his multi-decade fraud to the FBI and was arrested in early December.

The former certified public accountant said she revealed the affair to her husband of 37 years and her son and explained that it was a way to earn money after Madoff wiped out her family's life savings and forced the sale of their Manhattan home. She said she received a six-figure advance payment for the book but would not be more specific.

"We were left with nothing. That's the bottom line. Left with lemons, I was just trying to make lemonade," she said.

Weinstein said the affair occurred during a weak spot in her marriage, when she was vulnerable to a powerful financial man who found time while chairman of the Nasdaq to meet her in restaurants and hotel rooms.

"I think it was about as adult as an affair can be," she said. "Unfortunately, it was with the biggest crook the world probably has ever seen."

Weinstein said she was not looking for revenge.

"I could have been vicious about Bernie. I don't think I was vicious about Bernie. It wasn't done for a vicious purpose," she said.

Still, she said, she wants a copy of the book published by St. Martin's Press to be sent to Madoff in prison, where he is serving a 150-year term. In the book, she said she nicknamed Madoff "Winky Dink" because he constantly blinked, something noticeable at Madoff's court appearances.

At Madoff's June sentencing, Weinstein was among investors to urge a long prison sentence for the financier, calling him "that terror, that monster, that horror, that beast ... an equal-opportunity destroyer."

In her correspondence with the court, Weinstein made no mention of an affair, though she did write in a request to speak at sentencing that she wanted to address Madoff and the court because "I think the personal connection may be more difficult for him to ignore."

An attorney for Madoff's wife, Ruth Madoff, has said his client did not know about the "alleged affair."

FOLLOW HUFFPOST NEW YORK

Filed by Jessica Gusman  |