Madoff Fraud Helps Bring Down Curtain on Florida Theater

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June 6, 2011; Source: New York Times | Maybe we'll never know the full toll on the nonprofit community of Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme. But the damage is still being felt. The New York Times reports that earlier this week Florida Stage, "a well-regarded Palm Beach theater devoted to putting on new plays," filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In a letter on its website, the theater said it had depleted its operating funds and was shutting down. The theater said subscription sales had fallen to 2,000 from a high 7,000, and it was unable to raise sufficient funds from donors, forcing it to close. According to the New York Times, "many of the theater’s most reliable patrons had lost money" they had invested with Madoff.

Other efforts to stem costs, including moving to a smaller theater, came up short. In his farewell note to patrons, Louis Tyrell, producing director, wrote: "You are the reason Florida Stage was born and has thrived. For this, we are eternally grateful. For having to draw our curtain, we are eternally sorrowful.”—Bruce Trachtenberg