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Mets walk with $162 million Madoff pact

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 02:11

March 19 - Owners of the New York Mets baseball team agreed to pay $162 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of knowledge of Bernard Madoff's investment fraud. Conway G. Gittens reports.

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The game is over even before the players hit the field. Owners of the financially strapped New York Mets baseball team agreed to pay-up $162 million to victims of the Bernard Madoff investment fraud, instead of going through what could have been an embarrassing court battle. Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz were accused of knowing of and benefitting from Madoff's multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. An accusation Wilpon, then Katz, denies. SOUNDBITE: FRED WILPON, METS OWNER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "As we said from the very beginning as this lawsuit started, we are not willfully blind. We never was. We acted in good faith and we're very pleased that this settlement bears that out. That's very important to us." SOUNDBITE: SAUL KATZ, METS OWNER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Litigation is negative energy and so we are very pleased to have this behind us. And as we've said all along, and the fact is that we have never done anything but be - done everything in a good faith." So why settle? The trial would have put the Mets owners' financial records on display, which could have been a strike out for a team battling financial problems and low performance on the field. And by settling now - Mets owners can put the lawsuit behind them and focus on baseball's spring training. The payment will be spread out over a five-year period. Nevertheless, the settlement means more money for Madoff's victims, says attorney David Sheehan. SOUNDBITE: DAVID SHEEHAN, ATTORNEY FOR MADOFF TRUSTEES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The most important thing is that the victims now will receive the benefit of $162 million. Ultimately that's the goal of all the litigation brought by the trustee is to enhance the fund for the victims. This does that." So far, trustees have recovered just over $9 billion for Madoff's victims, but most of that is tied up in the courts. Conway Gittens, Reuters

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Mets walk with $162 million Madoff pact

Monday, March 19, 2012 - 02:11