Settlement Talks Crumble Between Mets, Madoff Trustee
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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — A lawyer for the trustee trying to recover money for the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme says negotiations have ended to settle a lawsuit filed against the New York Mets owners and their affiliated companies.
David J. Sheehan, a lawyer for trustee Irving H. Picard, sent a letter to Judge Burton R. Lifland of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Thursday asking that he unseal the lawsuit filed Dec. 7 against Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz and dozens of entities and people connected to the Mets and Sterling Equities.
Karen E. Wagner, a lawyer for the Mets owners, said in a letter to Lifland later Thursday that her clients no longer opposed unsealing the suit.
LISTEN: Boomer & Carton talk Mets-Wilpon saga with Erin Arvedlund, author of Too Good to be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff
The Wilpons said last week they were exploring a partial sale of the team, a non-controlling interest of 20 to 25 percent, that would raise several hundred million dollars. Fred Wilpon said they made the decision because of uncertainty caused by the lawsuit.
A Feb. 9 hearing had been scheduled on a motion to unseal the suit filed by The New York Times and WNBC.
Sheehan wrote the defendants “have affirmatively taken action to try this case in the press and the court of public opinion.”
“Defendants cannot cry confidentiality to this court while publicly attacking the complaint and continuing to frustrate the public’s right to know the contents of the same complaint they disparage,” he wrote.
Wagner, in her letter, wrote that settlement discussions ended after two unidentified lawyers violated court orders and disclosed confidential information to the Times, which reported the suit sought to recover $300 million in what Picard called fictitious profits.
“As a result, one-sided and misleading information was publicly disseminated both about the complaint and the defendants,” Wagner wrote, adding that the complaint contained “unfounded conclusions.”
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