The draw of owning items that once belonged to disgraced Ponzi scheme investor Bernard Madoff was offset yesterday at Regis College by the mounting evidence that the auction was a scam, or rather, a scam capitalizing on a scam.
The few people that trickled in were greeted by Northeast Galleries manager Dominic Briscoe, who stood on the front steps defending his auction against allegations of false advertising.
“It clearly advertises who I am,” said Briscoe. “I’m not hiding anything.”
Briscoe’s auction claimed to include “personal items belonging to Ruth & Bernie Madoff” and a collection of art from a victim of the “Madoff Ponzi Scam,” acquired from the U.S. Marshals Service.
However, a spokeswoman for the Marshals told Metro last week the service had no connection with the event and yesterday Briscoe would not identify any of the Madoff items, saying only that they were limited to the small display of jewelry.
“I assume it is my competitors [attacking me],” Briscoe said of signs outside the auction directing people to a Web site detailing the allegedgGallery scam.
Briscoe was recently forced to cancel auctions in Connecticut, where Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has threatened legal action if the company doesn’t prove the advertised Madoff items are real.
Inside, surrounded by works by Dali, Picasso and Pissarro, attendees of the auction seemed unfazed by the allegations.
“[The Madoff items do] make it a little more intriguing, but I would’ve come anyway," said local resident Nancy Albee. “I like the artwork.”