- Bernard Madoff (Photo: U.S. Department of Justice)
The sports and financial worlds are abuzz with news that the New York Mets, losers on the baseball diamond, won with their Bernie Madoff investments. The Biz of Baseball Web site reports:
The reports of the losses suffered by the New York Mets at the hands of Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme may be exaggerated.Â Matthew Futterman and Amir Efrati first reported inÂ The Wall Street JournalÂ that a partnership connected to the team netted almost $48 million from it dealings with Madoff. The information was included in documents filed with the bankruptcy court in the Madoff case (Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Bernard L.Madoff Investment Securities LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-01789).
The information counters speculation that the Wilpon family, owners of the Mets, suffered losses in their dealings with the swindler that would significantly affect their ability to finance team operations and perhaps even force them to put the team on the market, allegations that have been vigorously denied by spokesmen for the team.
ESPN’s report notes that the Mets Limited Partnership, “which is connected to the Wilpon family, led by Mets owner Fred Wilpon, deposited $522.8 million in two accounts with Madoff and withdrew $570.6 million, according to a Monday filing by court-appointed trustee Irving Picard.”
The ESPN story also mentioned thatÂ earlier this year, Erin Arvedlund, author of Too Good to Be True, a book on Madoff, “said the Wilpon family would be forced to sell the Mets due to huge losses suffered in the Madoff swindle.” The Mets ownership group has not been sued, according to ESPN.
The recovery of profits made in a Ponzi scheme, such as the Madoff scam, is known as “clawback.” Picard, the liquidator of Madoff’s assets, can go back six years to recover money made by investors. Josh Nathan-Kazis wrote about this situation — which also affects charities that invested with Madoff’s firm — in last week’s edition of the Forward. — Mordecai Specktor