Madoff Trustee Fights Mets Dismissal Request

Feb 10 2012 | 2:42am ET

Despite a string of stinging legal defeats, the court-appointed receiver in the Bernard Madoff case says he isn't done with the owners of the New York Mets just yet.

Irving Picard asked U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff to reject a bid by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz to have his entire case against them thrown out—and to order the two to pony up the $83 million in phony profits they withdrew from Madoff in the two years before his Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008.

Wilpon and Katz, in their dismissal motion last month, argued that they didn't know that Madoff was up to no good and that Picard can't prove that they did, a requirement Rakoff has imposed on him. Rakoff also whittled Picard's case down from more than $1 billion to just $386 million.

But Picard argued that the Mets owners, as sophisticated investors and longtime associates of Madoff, should have known something was amiss. Wilpon and Katz "ignored amassing red flags of fraud concerning their Madoff investments," a Picard spokesman said.

The Mets and Wilpons "had become utterly dependent on Madoff's investment returns, which over time had grown to become the very cornerstone of their business plans and personal finances," Stephanie Remus continued. "Moreover, they had become over-dependent upon their BLMIS accounts to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans—loans as to which, as they admit, could be in default upon just an investigation into BLMIS."

Picard also asked Rakoff for summary judgment on the $83 million, and that the judge allow the March 19 trial to proceed to allow him to try to collect the remaining $303 million.


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