A judge made a preliminary ruling in the Picard vs Wilpon case today, and though the impact is not completely clear, it certainly counts as good news for the Mets' owners. All but two counts were dismissed, and the threshold for the trustee's case against the Wilpons was basically raised. Ian Begley at ESPNNY, Michelle Steele at Bloomberg, and Darren Rovell at CNBC led the reporting today as the decision was handed down.
The remaining two counts involve fraud, and the trustee may still seek the $1 billion as a clawback for those that lost money in the Madoff ponzi scheme. But now the money may only be recovered if the trustee proves that the Wilpons willfully blinded themselves to Madoff Securities' fraud. That's a lot to prove, you can tell just by unpacking the sentence. In order to show that the Wilpons willfully blinded themselves, you have to show that they knew but then looked the other way. Did the Wilpons leave that sort of paper trail?
The trustee also claims that the Mets owners only made $379 million in profit, though, so it's hard to see this ending with $1 billion in the trustee's pocket. There's an 'equitable subordination' count left on the case, but what that really means will have to be flushed out in the coming days.
This might best be summed up as an okay day for the Wilpons. And if they spend wisely and let the front office do their thing, an okay day for the Mets.