Walter Noel’s reputation may be virtually destroyed after losing $7 billion of investors’ money with Bernie Madoff, but his daughter, Marisa Noel Brown, is keeping her head up. Two weeks ago, she was spotted at a dinner party for Gilt Groupe, a designer sample sale Web site. Then on Thursday, the Harvard-educated social was due to cohost a junior collector’s night at Doubles, but she didn’t show — perhaps because the Web site Guestofaguest.com raised questions about the appropriateness of her being there. Most people don’t appear to be holding her family’s financial disaster against her, however, pointing out that it was not she, but her father, who reportedly parked an astonishing 50 percent of their firm’s money with Madoff. (Marisa’s husband, Matt Brown, also works at her father’s company as a managing director.)
But Vanity Fair’s Vicky Ward is finishing a major piece about the Noel clan and the view isn’t likely to be pretty. Even worse, famed lawyer David Boies is heading up the complaint from jilted investors of Noel’s Fairfield Greenwich Group. “The Noels are going to spend the rest of their lives in court,” predicted one society source.
This story first appeared in the February 2, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Moreover, while many social types are still happy to receive an RSVP in the affirmative from Marisa, the same cannot be said of her dad. In December, he made appearances at at least two high-profile holiday functions: one thrown by Wilbur Ross and his society writer wife, Hilary Geary; another thrown by Martin and Audrey Gruss. “People were aghast,” said one Park Avenue source.