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Jewish blog tracks Madoff news

Swindler's List offers updates on scandal

Want to find the latest on the Bernard Madoff scandal? You probably can’t do much better than a blog launched Wednesday by Los Angeles weekly the Jewish Journal.

The name? Swindler’s List.

Web director Dennis Wilen gets credit for the name, but Jewish Journal editor in chief Rob Eshman said the blog’s creation stemmed from a desire to satisfy both a need for ongoing coverage and the onslaught of Web traffic that began after he wrote a Dec. 12 article headlined “Is Bernard Madoff Jewish? Very. Oy.”

However, Eshman credits Jewish ties for allowing his reporters to get the first interview with philanthropist Stanley Chais, whose foundation was wiped out by Madoff and now faces a civil suit in the fallout.

The same piece centered on a Madoff associate who asked to remain anonymous but answered reporter Dean Rotbart’s question, “Is your friend evil?” (His answer: “I think he did some evil things, let me put it that way. Unless you are the mafia, would you expose your children to that kind of thing?”)

“Before this, the two stories that brought us the most traffic was one about Sarah Palin and a profile of ‘The Suite Life of Zack & Cody’ producer Irene Dreayer,” Eshman said. “I think this is the most important story we’ve covered in years in terms of the present and the future of the Jewish community.”

Fortunately, he says, “The Jewish community does crisis really well.”

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