Business, Economics and Jobs

Mets owners agree to pay $162 million to settle Bernie Madoff case


Disgraced former financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies in March 2009 and was later sentenced to 150 years in prison.


Stephen Chernin

The owners of the New York Mets settled a lawsuit today about their dealings with Bernie Madoff. Irving H. Picard had accused Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz of ignoring warnings that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.

Wilpon and Katz agreed to pay Picard $162 million today. In exchange, Picard agreed to drop his "willful blindness" claims against the Mets owners, the New York Times reported

Picard, the court-appointed trustee for Madoff’s firm, had originally sued the Mets owners, along with their business partners at Sterling Equities, for $300 million. Picard contended that Wilpon and Katz knew that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme but ignored the signs. Madoff plead guilty to fraud charges three years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Although the outcome is an anticlimax, it is always helpful when the parties are able to resolve their differences," U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said, according to the WSJ.

News of the lawsuit broke in December 2010. Picard alleged that a partnership associated with the Mets deposited $523 million with Madoff and gained a net $48 million from the investments, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Wilpon was a longtime friend of Madoff, the WSJ said.

"In a sense, we are partners now. Negotiations were very solid, very business-like," Picard's lawyer David Sheehan told the New York Daily News