February 27, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets chief executive officer Fred Wilpon speaks to the media as players warm up behind him during spring training workouts at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the US District Court in Manhattan is scheduled to issue a "bottom line ruling" on Monday in the $386 million clawback lawsuit filed against Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz on behalf of the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. The suit alleges that the Mets' owners either did know or should have known that Madoff was a crook and a mountebank who intended to swindle investors out of billions of dollars.
Rakoff is requiring that the trustee prove that Wilpon and Katz believed there was a high probability of fraud and consciously turned away from it.
If the judge thinks the trustee has not yet proved that his case should go to trial, he could grant the motion for summary judgment filed by the Mets’ owners. That would prevent the trustee from arguing that they should have to pay about $300 million in principal.
Rakoff is also being asked to rule on the trustee’s motion to let his office recover $83 million in fictitious profits the Mets’ owners received through their Madoff accounts.
His decision is likely to lead to appeals.
If the 69-year-old Rakoff's summary judgment does not favor Wilpon-Katz, the case will go to trial beginning March 19 and its pall will continue to shroud this team in financial uncertainty. If he finds in favor of Wilpon-Katz, then the Mets will only be burdened by all of the normal economic consequences concomitant with declining attendance. So yay!