Mets’ Owners Settle Madoff Case for $162M

Money to come from bosses' payout as Madoff victims
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 19, 2012 10:22 AM CDT
This Oct. 29, 2010, file photo shows New York Mets owners from left, Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon during a baseball news conference in New York.   (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek, File)

(Newser) – The New York Mets' owners have avoided a trial over what they knew about Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme by settling today with the trustee for Madoff victims for $162 million, the New York Times reports. Trustee Irving Picard had sued Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz for $1 billion (later knocked down to $386 million), saying they disregarded warnings about Madoff's dealings; they claimed ignorance. Much of the $162 million will be balanced by money Katz and Wilpon will receive as "net losers" from the scheme themselves.

Katz and Wilpon say they're due $178 million as Madoff victims; they'll get a percentage of whatever Picard can obtain from the beneficiaries of the scheme—money that will include the cash from their own settlement. So what does all this mean for the Mets? Wilpon and Katz probably wouldn't have settled had it put their team ownership at risk, ESPN notes. But the team is still tens of millions of dollars in debt to Bank of America and Major League Baseball, among others. The upshot: For Wilpon and Katz to maintain ownership of the team, they'll be counting on fans' attendance.

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