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The Madoff trustee cuts off settlement discussions with the Wilpons; wants the case documents made public

Feb 3, 2011, 4:35 PM EDT

Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon

On Wednesday, the New York Times wrote an article painting the Wilpons in a less-than-wonderful light.  Today, the Wilpons struck back, both in this morning’s Daily News article I linked and in a piece with Darren Rovell over at CNBC.  In the Daily New piece someone “close to the Wilpons” accused the bankruptcy trustee of extortion.

I’m guessing the bankruptcy trustee didn’t like that much, because according to Rovell, this afternoon he told the judge that the settlement discussions are off and he now has no objection to the case files being unsealed. Call me crazy, but that’s not the move of a man who lacks confidence in his case against the Wilpons.

Things just got more fun.  And for the Wilpons, they just got more expensive.

  1. chrisny3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    As I said in the comment section under the earlier piece you wrote today, I wouldn’t be surprised if talks had already broken off prior to Wilpons’ legal team speaking to the Daily News reporters yesterday and striking back at Madoff.

    The folk at David Polk Wardell are no dummies. They knew what they were doing by speaking negatively of Picard to the DN reporters.

    A person’s reputation is more important than money. Even if the Wilpons lose on the money front in a court fight, they will still be very rich. Also, while a court fight could cost the Wilpons more than if they settled, it’s also possible it could cost them LESS if a final judgment is smaller than the outrageous amount many are saying Picard is asking for. By going to court, they may have little to lose in relation to those demands, but can uphold their reputations which are being dragged through the mud unfairly now.

    • chrisny3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      correction: “… speaking to the Daily News reporters yesterday and striking back at PICARD.”

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 3, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    I wonder if the Wilpons have the same attorney as Clemens. It’s never a good idea to call out a prosecutor regardless of how much money you have. A good adage to follow is keep mouth shut to prevent foot from entering.

    • chrisny3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 5:21 PM

      Does Harden work at Davis Polk & Wardell?

      I think they know what they are doing.

      • skipperxc - Feb 3, 2011 at 5:32 PM

        They might want to start showing it then.

      • chrisny3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 5:38 PM

        If it’s true they have legal ground on which to fight Picard’s claims, don’t you think they ARE showing it?

      • skipperxc - Feb 3, 2011 at 6:06 PM

        *If* they do, then yes, but when the response to your strongly worded statement is, effectively, “Bring it on!”, it’s tough to see them having said legal ground. For whatever reason the bankruptcy trustee has no lack of confidence here, which would seem to point to a strong case against the Wilpons.

      • chrisny3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 6:10 PM

        See my post below … because Wilpon’s lawyers are also saying now “C’mon, bring it on!”

        As for legal ground, did you even read the CNBC article Craig linked to? If those lawyers are right, I wouldn’t settle if I were Wilpon.

  3. chrisny3 - Feb 3, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    “Lawyers for the Wilpons filed motion today in court saying they “agree the complaint should be unsealed immediately.”

    Above is a tweet from Jim Baumbach of Newsday. Obviously, Wilpon and his lawyers have nothing incriminating to hide.

  4. mgflolox - Feb 3, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    It seems your devotion to this case goes beyond mere fandom. What, did you draft this law firm for your fantasy litigation league?

  5. jfk69 - Feb 3, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Pride and arrogance goeth before the fall.
    The Wilpons are not shorted on either.
    Strike three and your out!

  6. ursus59 - Feb 4, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    chrisny3, it’s Davis Polk & Wardwell, with 2 “w”s.

    If you are going to shill, it helps to get their name right.

    And yes, they are smart, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that they have dumb clients.
    It happens to all of us.

    • chrisny3 - Feb 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Sorry, I didn’t realize this was a spelling forum.

      I think I was close enough that everyone knew who I was talking about. Your nitpicking the spelling of the name of a law firm in a forum like this is nothing short of obnoxious.

      And, yes, there are dumb clients. But the smart lawyers are able to steer even dumb clients in the right direction.

  7. ursus59 - Feb 4, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    I’m terribly sorry to have offended your delicate sensibilities.

    Though if you knew anything at all about Davis Polk, you would know that they actually take spelling quite seriously, particularly when it comes to their name, which you managed to get wrong twice.

    If that’s “nothing short of obnoxious”, so be it, but inducing your employees to invest their 401(k)s in a Ponzi Scheme is several orders of magnitude worse, not to mention being actionable.

    Which is why the Wilpons won’t own this team for much longer.

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