Feb 6, 2011

Lawsuit: New York Mets owners owe Madoff victims $300,000,000

A previously sealed lawsuit made public last Friday says the owners of the New York Mets turned a blind eye to Bernard L. Madoff's massive fraud, reaping $300 million in false profits and using a large chunk to run the team.

The lawsuit claims the owners were so dependent on the disgraced financier's too-good-to-be-true returns that it "faced a severe and immediate liquidity crisis" when Madoff's crimes were revealed in 2009.

The lawsuit names Sterling Equities, along with its partners and family members, including Mets owner Fred Wilpon (pictured), team President Saul Katz and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon, the owner's son.

The complaint alleges the partnership "received approximately $300 million in fictitious profits" from hundreds of accounts opened with Madoff's firm. Of that, it says, $90 million of "other people's money" was withdrawn to cover day-to-day operations of the Mets.

As it turns out, Mets owner Fred Wilpon may have been a big loser in Bernard Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scheme.