Saturday, 6 February 2016
Last updated 12 hours ago
Apr 13 2009 | 2:05am ET
When Bernard Madoff re-upped his season tickets to the New York Mets last year, he probably didn’t expect to be indisposed on opening night.
But with the convicted Ponzi schemer safely ensconced in a Manhattan jail cell, someone else will be sitting in his seats just behind home plate as the Mets open their new $850 million home tonight. The court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff’s assets sold his two tickets to the game against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on the online auction Web site eBay yesterday, netting $7,500.
The seats, in the second-most expensive section of the ballpark, carried a face value of $1,050. The price almost doubled during a frenzied bidding war during the final half-hour of the auction. All told, the tickets attracted 68 bids.
Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee, won approval to sell the tickets last week. After a snafu—eBay cancelled the auction on April 8 because of an error in Picard’s payment plan—the three-day auction went live on Thursday. Picard also had arranged a deal with the Mets, allowing them to trade Madoff’s seats—the most expensive in Citi Field, at $80,191 for the pair just one row back of home plate, with a top face value of $695 apiece—for the next-best, in exchange for a $19,440 refund from the baseball team.
Picard plans to sell the Mets’ remaining April home dates individually, before auctioning the rest of the season package off beginning in mid-April.
Mets ownership and management were among the largest investors—and biggest losers—in Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Mets owner Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities is thought to have lost as much as $500 million, and more than two dozen accounts with Mets ties were listed in a court filing in February, many of them with addresses at Shea Stadium, the Mets’ former home that is well on its way to becoming a parking lot for Citi Field.