Mets Tied To Madoff

The owners of the New York Mets have been accused of receiving approximately $300 million in “fictitious profits” from Bernie Madoff’s fraudulent financial scheme, according to a recently unsealed lawsuit.

The suit, filed in a New York bankruptcy court, alleges Sterling Equities, Mets owner Fred Wilpon, team president Saul Katz and other family members profited from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme for years, despite warnings from many in the financial industry.

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee seeking to recover money for Madoff’s victims, claims the Sterling partnership used as much as $90 million of “other people’s money” to cover day-to-day operations of the team.

“The Sterling partners were simply in too deep – having substantially supported their businesses with Madoff money – to do anything but ignore the gathering clouds,” Picard wrote, according to court documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “Despite being on notice and having every resource at their disposal to investigate the litany of legitimate questions surrounding Madoff, the Sterling partners chose to do nothing.”

Picard’s suit seeks $300 million from Sterling and also indicates the trustee may go after another $700 million in principal the partnership has withdrawn since 2002, the paper said.

Wilpon and Katz have called the filing “an outrageous strong-arm effort to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses we built for over 50 years.”

In a statement, the pair said the allegations were “abusive, unfair and untrue.”

“We should not be made victims twice over – the first time by Madoff and again by the trustee,” they said.