In a settlement reached Friday and burberry ties announced Monday morning just before their federal trial was to begin, the owners agreed to pay the trustee $162 million, but that figure is likely to be reduced or wiped out altogether as the complex bankruptcy litigation involving Mr. Madoff’s investment operation plays out.
The trustee, Irving H. Picard, had initially sought $1 billion, declaring that the owners had enriched themselves over many years of profitable investing with Mr. Madoff while ignoring repeated warnings that he might have been a fraud.
The owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, had angrily decried the charges as an attempt to extort them into paying a giant settlement, one that might have burberry handbags outlet forced them to sell the Mets, one of baseball’s most valuable franchises. In an effort to stabilize the team’s finances, the Mets appear to have sold 12 minority stakes in the club for $20 million each.
The settlement — under which the owners may not have to pay the trustee anything out of their pockets — makes clear that it was the trustee who blinked at the 11th hour. A federal trial — one that would have explored whether Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz had been “willfully blind” to evidence of Mr. Madoff’s burberry sneakers women fraud — was set to start Monday morning with jury selection.
“I can’t wait to get back to our businesses, which I love, and the first order of business, the first priority, is getting down to Florida tomorrow, getting to that spring training camp and bringing the Mets back to the prominence our fans deserve,” a clearly relieved Mr. Wilpon said outside federal court in Manhattan.
Mr. Picard was appointed by a bankruptcy judge in 2008 to recover money for Mr. Madoff’s victims. To date, he has secured some $9 billion — or about half his goal — much of it from Madoff investors he has asserted had been unjust beneficiaries of “too good to be true” returns.
In his lawsuit against Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz, Mr. Picard asserted that the men were sophisticated investors who were among those illegitimate beneficiaries. But Mr. Picard suffered a number of setbacks. The lawsuit was removed from bankruptcy court, and Jed S. Rakoff of the United States District Court, who took over the case, both reduced Mr. Picard’s financial claims and raised the legal bar he would have to clear in order to collect.
Still, if Mr. Picard had prevailed at trial, he Ray ban sunglasses could have recouped as much as $303 million, in addition to the $83 million the Mets owners were already ordered to pay.
His decision to settle for much less was regarded by a number of experts as a kind of surrender on the explosive assertions that were central to the case. Legal experts said the settlement would most likely embolden other defendants who are fighting accusations brought by the trustee. Mr. Picard has filed several large suits that have accused defendants of misconduct, including actions against some of Mr. Madoff’s relatives and one of his primary banks, JPMorgan Chase. The cases make similar bad-faith claims to the one brought against the Mets owners.
“I certainly consider this a capitulation by the burberry kids sale trustee,” said Bradley D. Simon, a former federal prosecutor who focuses on white-collar civil litigation for Simon & Partners. “It seems quite one-sided.”
The Mets, as a baseball operation, still face significant financial trouble. The club has lost some $120 million over the past two years, has had to slash its payroll as attendance has fallen at Citi Field, and has had to put a portion of the team up for sale.
But the resolution of the suit, and on such favorable terms, ends an enormous financial threat.
“That decision removed the defendants from the sword of Damocles hanging over their lives,” Mario M. Cuomo, the former New York governor who was appointed as the mediator in the case in early 2011, said outside the courtroom. “And it will enable them to return to their work, their family and normalcy.”
Mr. Cuomo, who has www.egalass.com been mediating high-profile disputes for decades, had not appeared to make much progress as the lawsuit, complete with acrimonious filings, ground on.
But with the case headed for trial, Mr. Cuomo evidently finally made headway.
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