The trustees for Bernie Madoff’s victims have filed a lawsuit against the owners of the Mets claiming they ignored pointed and repeated warnings that Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme. The New York Times reports that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are accused of looking the other way as Madoff’s sweet, sweet Ponzi bucks helped them add to their personal fortunes.
Wilpon and Katz “along with their business entities, held the greatest total of any discrete group of investors.” Besides the Mets and SNY, they maintained real estate, private equity, and hedge fund businesses that, according to the lawsuit, benefited and profited off of the returns they received from Madoff.
Here are some of the warnings they are being accused of ignoring:
- The chief investment officer at Sterling Stamos, a hedge fund independent of Mr. Madoff in which Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz invested, said he repeatedly warned the men and their families that Mr. Madoff’s returns were “too good to be true.” Other personnel at the Stamos fund expressed similar concerns about Mr. Madoff.
- Merrill Lynch, the investment bank that acquired 50 percent of Sterling Stamos in 2007, had a prohibition on investing with Mr. Madoff and told Mr. Katz that Mr. Madoff’s operations would not pass its standards.
- Ivy Asset Management, which was approached in 2002 to back Sterling Stamos, told Mr. Katz and two of his partners of its suspicions about Mr. Madoff’s investment business.
- A consultant to Sterling Stamos told Mr. Katz in 2003, “He couldn’t make Bernie’s math work.”
The suit is asking for $300 million, or roughly two 6-year deals for Johan Santana.