If Bernie's world in merry old England seemed strange, life at the Manhattan headquarters was even more bizarre. To begin with, the boss had a big say in how the facility was designed, a scheme that appeared to stem from his obsessive-compulsive issues.
Although he had moved his firm to the Lipstick Building in the go-go 1980s because it was so high-tech, the roundness of the structure made him incomprehensibly nervous and uncomfortable. So what did he do? He had the interior and everything in the offices squared off. For whatever reason, he couldn't live with round or elliptical. When the firm moved in, Bernie initially leased only one floor, the 18th, but as business boomed (and more suckers were conned into his investment scheme) he expanded—to the 19th floor and then to a portion of the 17th floor, his Ponzi hideaway.
Madoff's office on 17 wasn't alone. Also on that same floor, but not a part of Madoff, was the headquarters of another major trading firm, Muriel Siebert & Company. Known to Bernie and others in the business as Mickie, she was considered "the first woman of finance" and the first female to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. A pal of Bernie's for years, her offices were only paces away from the site of history's biggest fraud, but like so many others, Siebert had no suspicions about his criminal activities.
Besides being a crook, Bernie was a bit of a perv.
Uncle Bernie, as niece Shana Madoff Skoller ...