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The Madoff scandal and the Innocence Project

This hurts, but it could have been worse.

Panic ensued at the Innocence Project of Texas when a powerful Wall Street investor was arrested this month and accused of swindling investors out of $50 billion.

One of the organizations that had invested with Bernard Madoff was the JEHT Foundation, which funds post-conviction DNA tests for Dallas County inmates who claim they are innocent. Without the funding, the Innocence Project would be faced with trying to raise capital in a bad economy and those seeking tests could face indefinite delays, if the testing could be done at all.

But after a few days of concern, Innocence Project officials realized the money received so far – about $400,000 – was theirs to keep, said the organization’s executive director Natalie Roetzel. And while additional money promised for computers, staff and investigations won’t make its way to the Innocence Project, Ms. Roetzel said, “I think it’s going to turn out OK.”

Both Ms. Roetzel and Dallas County First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore said there probably are enough funds to complete all the DNA testing. If not, Ms. Roetzel said, they will seek other grants and hold private fundraisers.

“The money should get us through what needs to be tested,” said Ms. Moore.

The demise of the JEHT Foundation was reported last week. I’m glad this part of their work will be able to run to completion. I hope something new will arise to continue with that work going forward.

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2 Comments

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    The Innocence Project is just one of many “liberal” projects and programs that were funded by the JEHT Foundaton. And the JEHT Foundation was just one of many foundations that funded “liberal” causes.

    Those who like the “tin-foil hats” might wonder.

    Quite a few in New York, by the way, wish they had been a little “kinder and gentler” to Leona Helmsley. Once the estate is fully settled, there will probably be around $5 billion in assets in the Leona and Harry Helmsley Foundation. Plus more added each year with the income from her hotel and real estate holdings. And all of it committed to animal causes only. Everyone threw her to the wolves. And so she left it all to the wolves. And the dogs. And the cats.

    Maybe Barry Scheck and Peter Nuefeld should have defended Leona Helmsley instead of OJ Simpson. Reality is a lot of people will not support the Innocence Project on that basis. People do remember. Particularly now that OJ Simpson is in prison where he belonged to begin with. Where he would have been had it not been for Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld.

    The real tragedy in this is that these foundations have lost it all along with everyone else. No one knows how much Bernie Madoff and possibly others who may or may not have been involved have but obviously it isn’t $50 billion. Or even $1 billion. So there isn’t much point in suing. Although of course the attorneys won’t tell anyone that. Not until after some have foolishly put down huge retainer fees for what they believe will be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever filed.

    I guess Congress could bail everyone out. They have bailed out all the crooks. Maybe they should start bailing out all the victims.

  2. Charles Hixon says:

    Anyone investing in securities should understand the risks involved, should look inward at their own greed and refrain from blaming others. Social Security is a bigger Ponzi Scheme.