On Tuesday a judge ruled in the Mets behalf. The ruling means that when the Mets/Madoff case goes to trial, the Mets will only be able to lose at most $386 million.
To me,this seems to force an appeal on both sides, thus, just stretching this out for an even longer period.
Any thoughts on this mess?
This is the essence of my Capital New York column today.
Everyone got excited when the CRG news broke but the Wilpons aren't going anywhere unless the Madoff case comes out against them decisively. Judge Rakoff's handling of the case has been curious, at best, and the only ones who are going to be happy about it are the lawyers getting paid by the hour for all of the extra time they are going to put in. There's no chance of a quick resolution to the case now, which is horrible news for the victims of the Ponzi scheme and Mets fans hoping this would be the death knell for the owners.
The Mets are not helped by this ruling. All it will mean for us is that the team still has a cloud of financial ruin hovering over ownership's head. If the result was the other way around perhaps the Mets would be rid of the Wilpons SOONER. In the end I see there being only one outcome, the Wilpons being removed from the ownership position by the MLB because they cannot support the team. The best thing for EVERYONE would be for the league to just do this now and allow the team to recover sooner. Sadly... until they HAVE to, they won't and the people who suffer are Met fans. Frankly, I don't think the Wilpons can afford to shell out $386 Million anymore than they could have afforded $1 Billion.
I agree, this will drag out longer. The trustee will definitely appeal it if he loses, and the appeal will try to reinstate the $1B claim and the easier burden of proof. Even if the trustee wins the $386M, I wonder if they will try to appeal the decision that limited the amount and try to get the rest of the $1B?
Since its preposterous that the Wilpons knew Madoff was scamming everyone, this is good news for the Mets. Now, its unlikely they'll be a jury trial. At least, that's what I've read. Guess that means they'll settle before the March trial date for a number in between 89 million and the 350+ million that the Wilpons have been trying to keep the settlement below. Does this ruling delay the possible ending of this mess even further? No clue. The trustee thats suing the Wilpons, likes to over reach and make crazy claims, so nothing would surprise me anymore in this situation.
Well if anything this gives the Wilpons a better chance to keep the team in the long run. IMO this whole ordeal wont be done until either midway or after the 2012 season is over. It will once again be a distraction and Terry Collins will once again effectively keep it out of the clubhouse.
I probably don't know enough about the case to form a great opinion, but I still find it hard to believe that the Wilpon's knew what Madoff was really up to. With that said, they share some vicarious responsibility, so the lower figure (still a ton of cash) is probably the better amount to bicker over.
From a Mets perspective, the decision will probably trigger some appeal type litigation, especially if the ending award is lower still. Who knows what this means for the long run. It seems that the Wilpon's are going to try and do everything they can to keep the team, so being responsible for less money in a settlement of the case, increases the chances of the Mets staying under their control.
Being a selfish fan, I hope that the Mets are sold to a stable owner, who is willing to invest in his product, commensurate with what he/she charges fans to come to the ballpark.
My early hope is a bit devious. The Rays are trying to get a new stadium here in Tampa. The situation has become a mess, to say the least. If it continues to fester, it wouldn't shock me if Stu Sternberg (Rays owner, Mets fan and season ticker holder) sold the club and had an interest in our Mets! (fingers crossed)