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Robert Trigaux

Nadel search is on, fleeced investors emerge



Artnadelvalhalla Where in the world is Sarasota money manager Art Nadel? The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports Sunday that Nadel has not been seen since Wednesday, the day before other fund managers admitted to customers that their money, totaling some $350-million, was gone. And the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Nadel's light green Subaru was found Thursday afternoon at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Deputies searched the car before releasing it to the family.

Nadel, 75, is a well-known figure in Sarasota's social and charity worlds. And he appears to be the key to learning how the hedge funds, apparently marketed under names including Valhalla, Viking Management and Scoop Real Estate, that he oversaw were wiped out. Nadel stepson Geoff Quisenberry reportedly retrieved a note from Nadel that Quisenberry said referred to suicide, prompting the family to call in a missing person report.

The Sarasota police are investigating complaints from at least five investors in Nadel’s funds, run from a management office called Scoop Management Inc., or SMI, in Sarasota, that their money has disappeared. (More on investor woes here.) The investigation began just over a month after the authorities arrested Bernard L. Madoff, the suspected mastermind of a Ponzi scheme that may have cost investors $50-billion. Hence the concern, elaborated upon in this Sarasota ABC-TV news report,  we may have another Ponzi-like ripoff on our hands.

The Sarasota newspaper quotes area developer Zeb Portanova, who had asked Nadel to explain his investments. The paper says Portanova thought Nadel traded leveraged derivatives, such as the one based on the NASDAQ 100 stock market index. Said Portanova: "He was essentially a day trader."

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:23am]


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