It’s hard to call something ironic in this town: There’s always an English grad student nearby to point out that Alanis Morissette’s understanding of the word is simply erroneous; even Wikipedia’s 3,339-word (not counting bibliography) entry for irony has a “usage controversy” section to expound on potential linguistic misinterpretations.
But consider this: Paul Risoli, the former Bank of America broker caught in a massive Wall Street insider trading ring, and sentenced to seven months in prison this February for taking $12,500 in bribes, just sold his apartment to New York University’s School of Law.
The school’s foundation paid $2.745 million, according to city records, for the three-bedroom, mahogany-floored, 2,039-square-foot condo (with a temperature-controlled 48-bottle wine cellar) at 505 Greenwich Street.
A School of Law spokesman didn’t respond to an e-mail pointing out the law school/lawbreaker irony, but said that this apartment and a $3.32 million penthouse at One Morton Square (where Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have a separate penthouse on the market) were “straightforward purchases for our housing stock that we will rent out for faculty use.
“The law school provides rental housing to faculty,” he wrote. “Faculty pay rent to live in these apartments. Our purchases have been good investments because of rising real estate prices in New York.” As it happens, the Greenwich Street condo was a sharp investment for Mr. Risoli, who paid just $1.6 million for it in December 2004.
On the downside, the I.R.S. briefly had liens on the apartment for $17,442.86 and $3,752.12 last year, according to records, but it’s not clear if they were related to the case, which the S.E.C. has called one of the most “pervasive Wall Street insider trading rings since the days of Ivan Boesky.” Mr. Risoli’s role was relatively small: He admitted to taking kickbacks from the former Bear Stearns hedge-fund partner at the center of the corruption.
“I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to make up for what I did wrong,” he said in court.