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.