Mets, Madoff Trustee Settle For $162 Million

Mar 19 2012 | 12:26pm ET

The trustee in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme case has settled one of the most prominent lawsuits he brought in his bid to collect money for the $65 billion fraud's victims.

The owners of the New York Mets this morning agreed to pay $162 million—almost twice the $83 million they were ordered to pay earlier this month. But the deal includes that $83 million and gives Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz five years to pony up—if they have to pony up at all. In addition, the trustee, Irving Picard, agreed to drop all allegations that the Mets owners knew or should have known that Madoff was up to no good.

The deal preempts a trial, set to begin today with jury selection.

Under the agreement, Picard has accepted claims of up to $178 million from Mets-linked Madoff accounts deemed net losers under the trustee's formula. The Mets owners, longtime friends of Madoff, had hundreds of accounts with the fraudster and his feeder funds. While it's unlikely the Mets will be able to recover all of that money, any that they do will be credited towards what they owe Picard.

If the Mets get less than $162 million back, they'll have to pay the difference—but they won't have to pay anything for at least four years.

"Settlement terms are reached to create the maximum recovery for the B.L.M.I.S. Customer Fund, taking into consideration factors such as the vicissitudes of time-consuming litigation and the financial situation of the parties involved," Picard lawyer David Sheehan said.

Picard had been seeking $386 million.

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