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On Monday, the owners of the New York Mets reached a settlement with Irving Picard, the trustee of the victims from Bernie Madoff's fraudulent investment schemes. The owners agreed to pay $162 million, significantly less than the $1 billion that Picard was initially seeking.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times called the settlement a "major victory" for the Mets' owners.
"$162 million is a victory for three reasons," Sandomir told Only A Game. "One, the number went way down. Two, the deal that was made was that the willful blindness claim against the Mets' owners - that was dropped. The good faith of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz was restored. They were operating as if they were any other customer of Bernard Madoff and they were betrayed, as they have said all along.
"And finally, the $162 million is the fictitious profits over the last six years that they invested with Madoff," Sandomir continued. "They may not even pay a cent of that, because even as they were being sued by the trustee, Irving Picard, they also had claims against the Madoff estate for $178 million in their losses. So, if the trustee recovers 100 percent of what he wants to recover, the Mets will send along $162 million of the $178 million, and they may net $16 million."
On Wednesday, Sandomir and fellow New York Times reporter Ken Belson wrote that the Mets are currently valued around $719 million, which is a four percent decrease from a year ago, and less than half as much as their next-door neighbors, the Yankees. Sandomir says this presents a problem for the Mets.
"They've been losing a lot of money," he said. "They lost $70 million last season, $51 million the year before, so they've really slashed their payroll. They made the largest single, one-season payroll reduction in baseball history of $50 million. They have a lot of catching up to do."
This segment aired on March 24, 2012.
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