Steve Madden is the man behind a half-billion dollar footwear brand, but his rise to the top was marked by a three-year prison sentence for securities fraud. Now out of jail and back to designing shoes, Steve says he is a changed man. Gayle talks with Steve about his transformation and the good he says came from his time behind bars.
In 2001, Steve pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money-laundering charges. "I was involved with some old friends and I made some very bad decisions which I deeply regret," he says. "I made a lot of mistakes, I sold myself short and it was a learning experience."
During his time behind bars, Steve says his company continued without him and he spent time exercising, reading and reflecting. He also fell in love with one of his first employees, Wendy. "We had a romantic sort of holding-hands-in-the-visiting-room and that was wonderful," he says. The couple married after Steve was released from prison.
Now back on the job designing shoes and about to become a new father to twins, Steve says he believes everything that has happened in his life was for a reason. "I want to say that I am grateful that I went to prison and I want to say I am grateful for every day," he says. "As much as I regret my actions and what I did and the mistakes I made, I believe everyone has their path."
Published on July 30, 2007