Madoff Trustee Picard Charges $5,803 Daily, Lawyer Says

A lawyer who said she represents 800 Bernard L. Madoff investors told a Manhattan judge they objected to a $43.9 million fee request by trustee Irving Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP.

The charges for Oct. 1 through Jan. 31 work out to $5,803 daily for the trustee, who is liquidating the confidence man’s investment firm, and $351,033 daily for his law firm, including weekends and holidays, lawyer Helen Chaitman said yesterday in a court filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The fees would bring total compensation for the trustee and his firm to $179.8 million since the Ponzi scheme operator’s 2008 arrest, Chaitman said in the filing.

Picard’s personal share of the $179.8 million would be $4.3 million, according to court filings. His contract with Baker & Hostetler might entitle him to a third or more of the total compensation from the Madoff case, Chaitman said.

“If I’m a lawyer and I originate business, I can get 35 percent of what I originate,” Chaitman said in a phone interview. “If I have clout, I can get 50 percent of what I bring in.”

A Picard spokeswoman, Amanda Remus, said by e-mail, “Ms. Chaitman’s filing contains numerous factual inaccuracies, which the trustee’s counsel will address fully in court.” She didn’t specify the errors.

Picard told a judge at a 2009 fee hearing that he would turn over his compensation to his firm, according to Chaitman’s filing.

Trustee’s Lawsuits

Picard has sued innocent investors and delayed distribution of funds to others, Chaitman said. The trustee has started more than 1,000 lawsuits to recoup money for Madoff investors, including cases against customers who took what he calls fictitious profits from the Ponzi scheme.

A hearing on the fee application is set for June 1.

The main case is Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, 08-ap-1789, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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