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Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are happy

Mar 19, 2012, 12:33 PM EDT

Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz

The Mets owners released statements late this morning regarding their settlement of the Madoff lawsuits. First, Saul Katz:

“We’re pretty pleased to have this behind us. As we’ve said all along, the fact is we have done everything in good faith. The settlement itself bears that out—that we’ve acted in good faith. I want to thank all my friends who backed us during this period of time, and our lawyers from Davis Polk who were incredibly supportive and critically helpful during this incredibly difficult time, and now we’re moving forward, which is the most important thing. We can now refocus our lives on taking care of our families, our business, and our community involvement. So I thank you very much.”

Then Fred Wilpon:

“I am very pleased for ourselves and our families to get the litigation behind us. I want to thank everybody, because this really was a team effort. Our partners were fantastic— our families were behind us and our friends. Mario Cuomo did a great job—he never gave up. As we’ve said from the very beginning when this lawsuit started, we are not willfully blind, we never were, we acted in good faith, and we’re very pleased that this settlement bears that out. That’s very important to us. Now I guess I can smile—maybe I can take a day off, but I can’t wait to get back to our businesses which I love. The first order of business and the first priority will be getting down to Florida tomorrow, getting to the spring training camp, and trying to bring the New York Mets back to the prominence that our fans deserve and the City of New York deserves.”

I was wondering if one of them was going to mention the Mets and their fans. Glad to see Fred got there at the end.

  1. stex52 - Mar 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    My sympathy, Mets fans.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 19, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      These guys are cool, but not the passionate, engaging, fun-loving Mark Cuban. Oooooookay…

      • Old Gator - Mar 19, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        Dear Buddha, he’s going south and planning to get his hands dirty. Oh no.

    • bbk1000 - Mar 19, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      As a Mets fan I understand this is the worst thing that could have happened for fans of the team…….

      The owner of the Mets loved the Dodgers as a kid and seemed to think at the time the Mets fans would think more of the Dodgers than the Mets when building Citifield….

      I honestly think the ownership is conveniently out of touch……just wonderful….

  2. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Yeah, they look real thrilled. Can’t we photoshop them high fiving on top of a rainbow or something?

    • paperlions - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      …while both are riding unicorns.

      • foreverchipper10 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        or a narwhal. The unicorn of the sea.

  3. rgoldz - Mar 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    This is the worst possible news for Mets fans.

  4. jfk69 - Mar 19, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Who is he kidding?
    This is the second stock scam he has been caught up in. The first ended the same way. He got all his intial funds out and most everybody else a small portion.
    As long as they own the METS, it will be a cursed and damned franchise. I see the injury bugaboo is back already.
    Fred..Here is a stock truism just for you.

    • bbk1000 - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      fool me once?

  5. randygnyc - Mar 19, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    That title posses me off.

  6. chiadam - Mar 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    If you have a Saul Katz in your life, there’s a decent chance he is your lawyer. Or accountant.

  7. loge23 - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Nice of Freddie to remember the fans at the end of his statement – fans who whom almost universally despise this ownership team. As for Saul, well…who?? I suppose Jeffy was left at daycare for the announcement.
    Today’s decision, if it keeps the Wilpon group in play, ranks right up there with Seaver for Zachry, Henderson,

  8. chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Well I’m pretty damn happy too. Not because this means Wilpon and Katz will likely hold on to the Mets indefinitely now, but because Picard has been put into his place, an injustice has been righted (for the most part), and some innocent folk whose reputations were besmirched have prevailed.

    A year ago I said Picard grossly overreached. I said he would fail on the “should have known” part (which later became “willful blindness”), and I said that it’s possible at the end of the day, the Wilpons could end up recovering more than they will have to pay. Most here disagreed, and some even laughed at the notion the Wilpons could end up getting money back from the bankruptcy court. Well, today’s agreement confirmed those points I made a year ago. Even noted anti-Wilponist and Picard’s personal PR puppet, Sandomir of the NY Times, called today’s agreement a “significant victory for Wilpon and Katz.”

    Craig, I remember a year ago you told me how stupid the Mets owners were for litigating this suit. How you thought they should settle (at that time) instead. Back then, the suit was still seeking $1 billion and was still in bankruptcy court. If the Mets owners had settled then, their cost would have been through the roof. It’s a good thing you don’t practice law anymore as I don’t see how you could have given clients adequate representation with an attitude like that.

    Where are all the other voices who were arguing with me a year ago how evil the Mets owners were in this matter? I can think of a couple in particular who are conspicuous by their silence. You can bet if the Mets owners had lost this case, those fans would be anything but silent now.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 19, 2012 at 5:07 PM

      “Craig, I remember a year ago you told me how stupid the Mets owners were for litigating this suit. How you thought they should settle (at that time) instead. Back then, the suit was still seeking $1 billion and was still in bankruptcy court. If the Mets owners had settled then, their cost would have been through the roof.”

      And you know this … how? Unless of course you were privy to the negotiations. Which, as many around here suspect, you were.

      So which is it:

      (1) Are you blindly assuming that Wilpon and Katz — who just the other day were tasked with the burden of proof in this case — masterfully negotiated this down to $132 million and didn’t, as so many people in their place do, see their settlement costs go up as trial approached?; or

      (2) Do you know for a fact that the Wilpons’ negotiating position — which is confidential and has not been reported anywhere — improved as time went on, meaning that you are in fact an insider shill for the Wilpons and Mets, just as everyone accused you of being?

      • chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2012 at 7:47 PM

        How do I know that Picard was seeking a huge amount in any settlement a year ago? Because the case was still in bankruptcy court at the time and it was still seeking 1 billion. As long as the suit remained in bankruptcy court, there was basically no chance Picard would settle for such a small amount. Sheehan also was publicly quoted at the time saying they are not lowering their sights in any agreement with the Mets owners. Also, it was reported at the time that the Mets owners were willing to settle for approximately the same amount they eventually settled for. Obviously Picard caved in only after the case was moved to federal court and Rakoff started cutting Picard down to size.

        The idea that I was part of the negotiations is hilarious. Only I wish it were actually so, because it appears almost everyone who was is either already rich or made a fortune off the case, particularly Picard and his lawyers.

        As for the defendants being tasked with the burden of proof in terms of showing good faith, that is standard in bankruptcy proceedings. Of course their task got harder. But Picard’s task was always hard from the start, and it got much harder than that when he saw the witness list included Koufax and Morgenthau. Moreover, the bulk of Rakoff’s rulings had been going against Picard, and he basically said that Picard had a weak case.

        You have to be really blind not to see how Picard’s negotiating position weakened significantly once the case got to Rakoff’s court and he started eviscerating the lawsuit, first cutting out 60% of the monetary claims, then officially stating in a briefing how weak the trustee’s evidence was. Rakoff had also been regularly ruling against Picard in the other clawback suits against the banks that he was handling. The only surprise is how long Picard held out.

        Hey, but don’t take my word for it. Listen to what an expert says about Picard’s capitulation:

        “The terms seem too good to be true for Wilpon and Katz,” said Bradley D. Simon, a former federal prosecutor who now focuses on white-collar civil litigation for Simon & Partners. “I certainly consider this a capitulation by the trustee. It seems quite one-sided.”

        Simon said Judge Rakoff’s rulings, in which he strongly expressed skepticism of the trustee’s ability to prove that the Wilpons turned a blind eye to the Madoff fraud, could have persuaded Picard and Sheehan to concede defeat in this case and instead turn their focus to the hundreds of other cases they have before them.

        It’s really not hard to see if you followed the progression of events in this case. Unless of course you are “willfully blind.”

      • Reflex - Mar 19, 2012 at 8:38 PM

        I also remember how you told us that the only thing that mattered to the Wilpon’s was their ‘good name’ and that was the basis of their fighting it out. Guess what? Their name is mud, and it looks like it was about the money, not thier name after all.

        You work for sleezebags. Hope it helps you sleep at night.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2012 at 9:13 PM

        And you are a total juvenile sleazebag, reflex. Because you lost, the best you can do is make a hilarious claim about who I am and hurl personal insults like a child at everyone. What a moron you are. A big huge a-hole. (And yes, I am using personal insults but only to sling it back at ya.)

        And it is precisely because the Wilpons valued their good name that they litigated the hell out of this thing. And in the end, they won. They were vindicated.

        And, sure, their name was besmirched and hurt by Picard’s slanderous and unethical PR campaign. You can’t undo the harm that was already done. That’s what happens in this litigious society where anyone and everyone can bring a lawsuit against someone.

        You fat sore loser!

    • Reflex - Mar 19, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      Hey Mets fans:

      Remember this guy is part of the team, and he’s in here gloating. Remember this if you go to buy a ticket. Seriously, every ticket you buy, think of the percentage that goes into chrisny’s pocket.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2012 at 7:51 PM

        Yes, I am gloating. Because the likes of you expended thousands of words arguing how the Wilpons were guilty and going to lose this case.

        It’s just ginormously hilarious how you think I was part of the Wilpon’s defense team. As I said above, I only wish it were true. Then I’d be a lot richer than I am today.

      • Reflex - Mar 19, 2012 at 8:35 PM

        Again, Mets fans, this douchebag is your team’s rep out astroturfing blogs. Keep that in mind.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 19, 2012 at 9:05 PM

        Keep telling yourself that, reflex, and you may believe it one day. It’s the last resort of losers to make claims like that.

        And, btw, I registered at HBT before the suit was filed and was on here vigorously campaigning for Wally Backman for manager when Craig was trashing him. Even Craig will remember that, thought I doubt he wants to as it undermines the claim I am anything more than a normal fan.

      • Reflex - Mar 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

        Um, it is well known that several front office Mets people were campaigning for Wally Backman. What the heck is your point with that assertion? I told him to pull the IP’s you use, I’d be happy to backtrace them for him. Your lucky he has more tolerance for astroturfing than I do, nobody has a right to privacy on a privately owned website.

      • chrisny3 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        LOL, read what you just wrote. It’s the height of stupidity. If I was a member of the FO and wanted to lobby for Backman, there is no point doing it here and I would be doing it from the inside where it could actually have some impact.

        But obviously nothing will convince you the world isn’t flat. You will say what you want because you are a f’kin sore loser and try to divert attention from your own stupidity with wild statements.

        You are pretty pathetic.

      • Reflex - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Um, I’m not a Mets fan. I dont’ even live on the east coast. I lost *nothing* in this. The only losers here are Mets fans and the actual Madoff victims.

  9. Reflex - Mar 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    If Mets fans want new ownership they are going to have to take action on thier own. Dodgers fans pretty much assurred McCourt was going away by simply not showing up, a huge percentage of a team’s money comes from ticket sales.

    Does NYC have the same resolve and guts that LA demonstrated? Can they sustain a boycott to get real ownership of their team? Or will they be initially upset and then forget about it by mid-season?

    I’d love to see the fans of various franchises start flexing thier power. If owners are going to get the citizens of a city to pay for thier stadiums, there should be some accountability for the product on display.

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