While disgraced financier Bernard Madoff's chief financial officer allegedly may be talking to the feds, one former employee of the swindler is definitely talking: His former secretary, Eleanor Squillari. She has co-authored a 9,000-word article in Vanity Fair and now the magazine spills some of the details, like how he "had a roving eye" and acted like he was in a coma—"He began taking his blood-pressure every 15 minutes, refused to look at his mail"—right before his arrest.
Squillari says the staff on the 17th floor of the Lipstick Building—the floor where the Ponzi scheme was operated—were mostly low-level, clerical women, many of them working mothers, who probably made no more than $40,000 a year. They were young and naïve, with no background in finance, so they weren’t able to connect the dots."
Madoff once told her, regarding a client whose secretary was arrested for embezzlement, "You know, [the client] has to take some responsibility for this. He should have been keeping an eye on his personal finances. That’s why I’ve always had Ruth watching the books. Nothing gets by Ruth." He apparently also said, "Well, you know what happens is, it starts out with you taking a little bit, maybe a few hundred, a few thousand. You get comfortable with that, and before you know it, it snowballs into something big."
She recounted, "Sometimes when he came out of his bathroom, which was diagonal to my desk, he would still be zipping up his pants. If he saw me shaking my head disapprovingly, he would say, ‘Oh, you know it excites you.'" Madoff also enjoyed visiting massage parlors, "Once, I looked in his address book and found, under M, about a dozen phone numbers for his masseuses. ‘If you ever lose your address book and somebody finds it, they’re going to think you’re a pervert,’ I said."