A hedge fund manager who was once sued for investing with Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff died in an apparent suicide Monday afternoon. The body of Charles Murphy, 56, was found on a fourth-floor rooftop of the Sofitel at 45 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan.
Witnesses said they saw "a man wearing what appeared to be a dark business suit" jump from the 24th floor, landing on a hotel terrace. "The impact of the landing shattered concrete tiles," the Post reports.
Murphy had worked at Fairfield Greenwich Hedge Fund, which had invested $7.5 billion with Madoff, whose pyramid scheme unraveled in 2008. He was among the defendants in a lawsuit against the firm, which eventually settled for $80 million.
Before the Madoff-related troubles, Murphy was apparently on the upswing: He paid $33 million for 7 East 67th Street, which the Observer called, "a record sale for a New York mansion smaller than 26 feet wide." Then, in 2009, while he was unemployed, Murphy heard that a neighbor was selling their townhouse for $25 million, the NY Times reports:
Rather than quietly savoring the good fortune of his neighbor, Janna Bullock, a developer who specializes in restoring town houses, Mr. Murphy sprang into action, according to several people familiar with the transaction.
He called the successful selling broker, Richard Steinberg of Warburg Realty, and suggested that it might be worth his time to try to interest the buyer, a Russian industrialist, in his house. Maybe he would find it more appealing, with its distinctive Ionic columns and four-story glass atrium in the rear, and buy it instead.
Mr. Murphy did not succeed in snagging the sale.
He then reportedly tried to sell the townhouse for $37 million in 2009 and then put back on the market last year for $49.5 million. After a few price cuts, 11,500 square-foot home is currently for sale at $36.5 million.
Murphy was currently working as a hedge fund manager at Paulson & Co; John Paulson said, "We are extremely saddened by this news. Charles was an extremely gifted and brilliant man, a great partner and a true friend. Our deepest prayers are with his family."
A Daily News reporter who went to the townhouse was told, "Go away, leave the family to grieve."
According to the Post, "A parking attendant at a nearby garage said Murphy’s wife, Annabella Murphy, crashed their Honda Odyssey last summer but could not afford to fix it. 'She didn’t even have enough money to pay for the damage,' the attendant said."
Murphy reportedly had two children with Annabella Murphy and two children with ex-wife Heather Kerzner.