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Madoff bankruptcy trustee increases his claim against Wilpon and friends: to one BILLION dollars

Mar 18, 2011, 5:40 PM EDT

Fred Wilpon

You can ask for anything you want in a complaint, but when you start off by asking for $300 million from the Wilpons and Saul Katz, and then increase your demand to one billion, one would assume there’s a reason for that:

The amended complaint also provides additional substantiation of the inter-dependent relationship between Sterling and BLMIS as well as certain Sterling partners’ knowledge of Madoff’s dishonesty in his investment advisory business. For instance, the amended complaint details a multi-million-dollar interest- and cost-free bridge loan from Madoff to Sterling in connection with its purchase of the broadcast rights for the New York Mets from Cablevision. This transaction was documented by a single letter agreement that falsely described the loan as an “investment” by Ruth Madoff in the company that would later become the SNY network.

That’s from the press release announcing the amended complaint.  If SNY is somehow brought into this lawsuit and somehow encumbered, it’s major trouble for the Wilpons, as the network is probably more valuable to them than the Mets are.

Now, I shall go refresh the New York Times web page until I see some great pro-Picard spin, and refresh the Daily News until I see some great pro-Wilpon spin.  Meanwhile: certain commenters who tend to be pro-Wilpon in these matters: please explain to us how this is no big deal.

UPDATE:  I received an email from the Wilpons’ and Katz’s P.R. people, with statements from both Fred Wilpon and from the New York Mets.  Here’s Wilpon’s statement:

“The amended complaint is the latest chapter in the work of fiction created by the Trustee.  We will pursue a vigorous legal defense that will set the record straight and vindicate us.”

And here’s the statement from David Cohen, the General Counsel of the Mets:

“This is more nonsense from the Trustee. The $54 million represented funds the Sterling partners had invested with Madoff, as the Trustee acknowledges. As the Trustee also acknowledges, that money was never used — and in fact was returned the next day — because the necessary funds were received from Sterling’s lenders by the buyout deadline, and were used to fund the buyout.”

A press release from the plaintiff and Official Statements from the defendants ain’t exactly the most efficient way to get to the truth of the matter, but I suppose that’s what the courts are for.

Good luck, gentlemen! We’re all watching!

  1. Reflex - Mar 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    chrisny’s paid counter-spin response in 3…2….1…..

  2. cur68 - Mar 18, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Oh gwaaaad…you know when you see a guy holding a bottle of gas with a sock stuck down the neck you know exactly what’s gonna happen? I got a premonition just like that right after reading this…
    Anyhoo, onto my bias; this whole thing grows more Wilponian by the day. Can the Mets not catch a break in any way? Could this be a good thing and finally force the Wilpons to sell the team to Trump? Hell, he can’t be any worse and he wasn’t involved with Madoff. I can just hear him firing Ollie, too. Warms my shriveled, frost bitten, beaver loving soul, so it does.

  3. yankeesfanlen - Mar 18, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Does this mean that they won’t take a check for $67.18 worth of baseballs at WalMart anymore?

  4. jlhc5530 - Mar 18, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    See ya, Wilpons. So, which crony does Bud install in NY now? I’d say Lew Wolff, his old buddy who’s frustrated himself into an impossible corner of Northern California.

    • apbaguy - Mar 19, 2011 at 12:42 AM

      If only Wolff had the cash…but that’s what big money partners are for. But I can’t see Lew leaving sunny California.

  5. sdelmonte - Mar 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Claiming that anyone owes that kind of money is extraordinary.

    That said, the Wilpons should have settled. Love him or hate him, Picard is a pit bull.

  6. Jonny 5 - Mar 18, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Did he have his pinky in his mouth like Dr evil when he said “one billion dollars” ?

    • apbaguy - Mar 19, 2011 at 12:43 AM

      That was exactly what I thought when I read the headline. I totally had a mental image of Mike Myers’ Dr. Evil and his little smile…

  7. purnellmeagrejr - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Wilpon should just pay the money and move on.That’s what I would do.

  8. Kevin S. - Mar 19, 2011 at 10:19 AM

    “I received an email from the Wilpons’ and Katz’s P.R. people,”

    What, chrisny3 has stopped posting and started emailing?

  9. chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Yawn … Hi Craig! I find it funny that you jumped all over what is essentially a regurgitation of stuff that’s been reported for weeks. You must go into withdrawal if too much time passes without an opportunity to do a Wilpon-bashing piece.

    It’s hardly worth a response, but I will explain how this amended suit isn’t a big deal if someone — anyone — would please first explain precisely in logical realistic terms (in a legal sense) how it is a big deal. Anyone?

    • chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2011 at 12:11 PM

      I’m specifically referring to the amended material — ie, the supposedly new amount of 1 billion, which is actually the amount that has been reported for weeks already. IOW, how is any of the purported new material a big deal???

      • aaronmoreno - Mar 19, 2011 at 9:24 PM

        How can you explain it? You ain’t a lawyer.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2011 at 11:10 PM

        One doesn’t need to be a lawyer to understand legal issues.

    • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 7:59 AM

      C’mon, anyone?

    • paperlions - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Something needs to be a big deal to be posted in a blog that has dozens of entries/day?
      No one said it was a big deal, but it is baseball related news. The amendment wasn’t for a new amount but was at a request to supporting information to justify the amount….and some of the issues in the amendment could certainly be viewed as noteworthy because they detail financial practices intended to misrepresent the nature of the transactions as well as to hide the true level of debt being accrued.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        No one said it was a big deal

        Actually, it was implied very strongly by Craig that it was.

      • paperlions - Mar 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        Actually, Craig made only a statement of contingency that is true. IF (yes, a big if) SNY is brought into the lawsuit and encumbered as a result, it would be a big deal.
        How closely are you related to the Wilpons? Because there is just about no other explanation for someone so deeply wanting explain away all of the problem the Wilpons are having, all of which are their own fault…..if you build an empire on credit…it won’t last…they never do.

  10. aaronmoreno - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Yeah, but you usually do need more than a college conlaw class to be able to make an informed assessment about the nature of legal arguments of a case pending before a judge.

    One doesn’t need to be a lawyer to understand legal issues. One doesn’t need to be a doctor to understand medical treatment. However, there is a difference between small claims court and a billion dollar fraud case in federal court, just like there is a difference between a cold and brain surgery.

    What I’m saying is, I think you lack the qualifications to render a sophisticated opinion on this issue. Don’t worry, so do I.

    • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 7:58 AM

      There is no minimum qualification for one to understand legal issues. They put cab drivers, cooks, and jocks on juries every day. You are entitled to your opinion. I just disagree.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 20, 2011 at 9:01 AM

        Juries are for resolving factual issues. Not legal issues. Indeed, jurors never are asked to decide a matter of law.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        Yes, I know. But jurors are asked to understand the law as outlined to them by the judge and then they are asked to apply the law to the facts as they find them. It’s not rocket science.

      • aaronmoreno - Mar 20, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        So what judge are you talking to?

      • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        Who said I was talking to a judge?

      • seeingwhatsticks - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        You don’t need any legal background when you have a Daily News subscription.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 2:45 PM

        … or a NYT’s subscription : )

      • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        … or, apparently for some, a NY Post subscription : o

  11. Kevin S. - Mar 20, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but when it first went to $1 billion, wasn’t the $700 million supposed to be punitive damages? Now this is claiming that the $700 million represents “fraudulent transfers.” Seems to me that it’s a lot easier to say “here, look, this $700 million was part of what was going on,” than it is to claim that the Wilpons are evil, dirty bastards and thus should pay $700 million in addition to their illicit gains.

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