Mountain News 

Madoff mess continues in flurry of lawsuits


ASPEN, Colo. - At least four Aspen-area clients of disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff have sued the U.S. Government's Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming the agency should have recognized "any of the smoking guns provided by credible third parties and industry experts."

The four individuals collectively seek more than $47 million in damages. The Aspen Times notes that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing in 2009 revealed at least 30 people in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley who had lost money to Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

Meanwhile, federal bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard has sued six people in the Aspen area - including several who are suing the SEC. He claims that these people took more money from Madoff's funds than they invested - and hence need to fork over money to pay the true victims.

In Vail, meanwhile, an auction of Madoff's fine art, jewellery and other valuables was held at a hotel before Christmas. Real Vail, a website news agency, reported that the auction was to include paintings by Henry Matisse, Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali, plus more by Pablo Picasso and Peter Max.


Uranium a hot topic

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Ski towns and their down-valley neighbours often are like night and dusk. But Telluride and the uranium-rich slickrock country to the west are also like night and day, despite their close physical proximity.

The tension is the essence of a front-page story published Monday by the New York Times. Telluride, "an hour away by car and a universe apart in terms of money and clout," has emerged as a main base of opposition to a uranium-processing mill, called Piñon Ridge, notes the Times .

It would be the first new uranium-processing facility in the United States in more than 25 years. As such, the Times suggests, the sometimes bitter words in Colorado may well be the harbinger of an angry national debate to come.

The Telluride Watch has reported on the sparring for three or four years. In a sense, so did the New Yorker earlier this year. The magazine had a piece about the "uranium widows," women of these down-valley communities at Naturita and Nucla who support the uranium mill despite the fact that they lost their husbands to cancer caused, at least in part, by exposure to radioactive uranium in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Times explains that the down-valley regions are poorer than Telluride, but also have a different outlook. They think Telluride should butt out of their affairs.

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