27 February 2012

The Felonious Tale of Garfunkel and Tauster

I was walking down the lower stretch of Clinton Street on the Lower East Side when I gave 67 Clinton a once over and noticed its interesting cornice pronouncement: Garfunkel & Tauster Building. Who they?

They were private bankers, and Garfunkel & Tauster—not the most euphonious business name on record—was a banking firm. Max Garfunkel and Marcus Tauster were their principals. They went into business in 1919. By 1924, they were bankrupts, criminals and fugitives.

Garfunkel and Tauster were indicted for making false statements to the State Superintendent of banks before the failure of their bank. Garfunkel pleaded guilty and took a term of six months to three years. Tauster, however, fled with his wife and kids. He was found in October 1924 in North Bay, Ontario, posing as drygoods salesman Max Bauman. He was extradited and sentenced to two to four years in Sing Sing.

The real estate company that now owns 67 Clinton has cheekily taken on the building's name, calling itself the Garfunkel & Tauster Corp. I wonder if they are aware of their predecessors' business legacy.


Peter said...

Hmmm, bankers that turn out to be criminals, guess history does repeat itself.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Yes, it IS surprising, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

They sold the business in 2006 to Banta.