Mets On Hook For Less Than $400M

Sep 29 2011 | 11:43am ET

The owners of the New York Mets will have to return no more than $386 million to the trustee in the Bernard Madoff case—and probably much less than that.

In an order issued yesterday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff wrote that Irving Picard could recover only $83.3 million in fictitious profits earned by Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and their Sterling Partners in the two years prior to Madoff's arrest and about $300 million in principal they withdrew over that period. While that's still a lot of money for the cash-strapped team, it's a welcome far cry from the amount Picard has sought, which was in excess of $1 billion.

Rakoff on Tuesday dismissed nine of Picard's 11 claims against the Mets owners. In that ruling, he also indicated that it would be very, very difficult for Picard to get the $300 million in principal back.

The judge said the receiver would have to prove that the Mets owners knew Madoff was running a fraud to get his hands on that money. Picard has alleged that they did, but Rakoff has called his evidence "less than overwhelming."

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