WASHINGTON, March 19 (LID) – The owners of the New York Mets will pay $162 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the trustee for victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme that the two men ignored warnings that Madoff was defrauding investors.
Madoff investment firm trustee Irving Picard had sought $303 million from businessmen Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. Trial was set to begin Monday.
Picard originally filed a complaint in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in December 2010, seeking $1 billion from Wilpion and Katz.
The settlement of $162 million represents the amount of fictitious profits that Wilpon, Katz and their associates withdrew from their Madoff accounts in the six years before the investment firm was liquidated.
The settlement must be approved by the federal court by April 13, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) was the court-appointed mediator in the case. The settlement was reportedly reached Friday but kept secret until Monday.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Picard has filed more than 1,000 lawsuits, and has recovered about $11 billion of the $17.3 estimated to be lost in Madoff’s scheme.
Madoff is serving life in federal prison for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that authorities said defrauded investors of $20 billion.
Picard is partner at the New York firm Baker & Hostetler LLP.
The case is Picard v. Katz et al., No. 11-03605, Southern District of New York.