Bloomburg Businessweek, the New York Mets may have to pay just $30 million following a court ruling against them, a fraction of the $386 million sought by the trustee representing victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme from the team and related defendants.
Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and other defendants must give up as much as $83 million in fictitious profits from Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and face a trial over whether they acted in bad faith, a decision that could cost them $303 million more, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled.
However, the two main entities that own and operate the baseball team are liable for no more than $30 million of the $83 million, although Wilpon and Katz personally might owe as much as another $11 million, according to court documents. The fraud cost investors an estimated $20 billion in principal, according to Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Madoff’s investment firm.
“The court remains skeptical that the trustee can ultimately rebut the defendants’ showing of good faith, let alone impute bad faith to all the defendants,” Rakoff said in his ruling in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. “The principal issue remaining for trial is whether the defendants acted in good faith when they invested in Madoff securities in the two years prior to bankruptcy or whether, by contrast, they wilfully blinded themselves to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.”