Employer Bails Out Madoff-Hit Employees

Mass. businessman donates $5M for workers' retirement
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2009 1:06 PM CDT
Bernard Madoff exits Manhattan federal court in New York in March.   (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, file)
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(Newser) – A Massachusetts businessman has ponied up $5 million of his own money to replace his employees’ retirement savings, which were wiped out by the collapse of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the Boston Globe reports. Robert I. Lappin, who made his money in vacuum cleaners, knows their pain because he, too, took a big hit. His own personal fortune is now about $5 million, about a tenth of its size before the Madoff scandal broke.

“I am absolutely thrilled,’’ said one former employee. “I really knew in my heart, all my heart, that Mr. Lappin would do all he could do for his employees.’’ The 87-year-old Lappin has deep roots in Salem, and his business is credited with turning around the city’s waterfront. “They feel very grateful and happy, which makes me feel very happy,’’ he says of his employees.