NEW YORK: KENNETH STARR: A divorced swindler? Or are he and Diane Passage victims of a witch-hunt?

Sure, he lived large. His Upper East Side $7.5 million dollar condo which he shares with wife Diane Passage is real nice if you like that kind of thing. I can appreciate a nice place myself and I thought the slideshow was really impressive. Ken Starr definitely rolled with high-rollers and called many celebs his personal friends. Does that make him Bernie Madoff? I never used to think so. But that was before the arrest.

Starr’s current position—in a Manhattan jail cell—is worlds away from the phenomenal success he enjoyed at the beginning of his career. Starr basically built his business on the back of Listerine heiress Bunny Mellon (at 99 years of age, Mellon is having a very bad year: She indirectly helped fund John Edwards’ dalliance and coverup with Rielle Hunter, and is also believed to be one of the clients Starr allegedly bilked). No less an authority than Pete Peterson, the legendary investment banker, co-founder of The Blackstone Group and one of America’s richest men, used to swear by him, according to a source. Much of Starr’s credibility came from Peterson’s endorsement—he would frequently tell prospective clients to “check me out with Peterson” to put them at ease and get them to open their wallets, this source says. [DAILY BEAST]

Was Ken Starr a “mini bernie madoff” wannabe? A greedy striver divorced from reality? Or is this whole thing a big mistake and misunderstanding? According to the Daily Beast, Ken Starr had a wife who liked nice things. In fact, when they hooked up, (Ken and Diane) Ken was married to, well, not too sure who, but he was married and his wife apparently had multiple sclerosis. But he was so smitten by Passage who was decades his junior, that he divorced his wife and married Passage and was on a quest to get her (Diane) into the music business. Diane, ostensibly, liked nice things. Jewelry in particular. And this cost a lot of money. Did Ken swindle his clients to keep his wife in diamonds? Was he a victim of Diane’s excesses? Or are people just jealous that the man was able to provide his wife with expensive baubles? The Daily Beast:

According to the indictment, the fraud perpetrated by Starr, who managed more than $700 million through his Starr & Company and Starr Investment Advisers firms, began in January 2008 and lasted through April of this year. That time frame dovetails with Starr’s marriage to Passage at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas in June 2007, and a subsequent huge party the couple threw in Central Park. Moreover, many of the items bought by Starr and detailed in the indictment—including a $70,000 diamond bracelet, $16,000 ladies’ round brilliant cut diamond chandelier earrings, and $32,000 ladies’ two-row diamond wedding band—have the distinct whiff of overcompensation.

The thing with investments that people need to understand is that you are not guaranteed a return. You can lose all you money. And it could be that the investment adviser and manager screwed up. But it could also be that the market forces were such that, well, you lost all your money. In other words, losing money does not necessarily mean fraud. And the fact that someone like Ken Starr bought nice things for his wife that the rest of us can only dream about, does not mean he is guilty of any fiduciary wrong-doing. After all, a lot of people in high places seemed to think Starr was a stand up guy. Then again, the same is true about Bernie Madoff.
Wow. See, this is what happens when you divorce your multiple sclerosis-stricken wife and marry a much younger tartlette. You create a lot of bad karma for yourself. So even if he is innocent, just the mere fact of this divorce from the multiple sclerosis-stricken wife, and the big spending on the second wife, kinda dovetails to make him look guilty as hell.
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