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Our West Coast Bernie Madoff: More on Ezri Namvar

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Photos removed at request of photographer

On with the stories about Ezri Namvar, the guy who at one point was involved in the downtown Park Fifth project, but more importantly, is another another blue baseball hat-wearing fallen investor. In this case, Namvar lost $420 million of investors' money (and in this case, many of the investors were local families). The Los Angeles Business Journal has covered this guy before, and they're back again, following the paper trail. Considered in their recent piece is who got preferential treatment in terms of returns and whether some investments (including the Park Fifth project) were overvalued. Via the LABJ:

Bankrupt Brentwood businessman Ezri Namvar and his investment partners amassed a real estate empire that last summer had an estimated market value of $2.43 billion, according to a document obtained by the Business Journal. However, other documents indicate that by November, Namvar’s holdings had shrunk considerably – to $1.55 billion. What’s more alarming, the number of his properties during that span fell from 160 to 90. That feeds the perception among many of his creditors that as Namvar descended into financial problems, he offloaded some properties perhaps to the benefit of a few but to the detriment of many – including those who haven’t received any of their money back."
The Jewish Journal, which also been following the story, quotes David Youssefyeh, one of the lawyers representing the families: "Youssefyeh said he became frustrated because Namvar's paybacks seemed designed to protect the wealthy creditors, rather than the small investors whose life savings had been jeopardized." In terms of East Coast Vs. West Coast shadiness, the difference seems to be that Madoff was more of a Ponzi scheme, but Namvar was playing more of a shell game, shuffling around assets to ultimately protect himself, but then again, the whole story hasn't come out yet.
· Properties Disappear From Namvar Holdings List [LABJ]
· Park Fifth Investor Not Very Popular in Beverly Hills [LABJ]