The Daily News, in an exclusive interview with the lawyers for the Mets, had a compelling argument that calls the the claw-back lawsuit “baseless”.
David Caplan of Davis Polk Wardwell LLP told The News Wednesday that the suit filed in December against the Wilpons and Fred Wilpon’s brother-in law Saul Katz by Madoff trustee Irving Picard is a “strong-arm” attempt to squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars out of Sterling Equities, the firm controlled by Fred Wilpon and Katz.
“We believe the complaint is baseless, both factually and legally,” Caplan said. “We have conveyed that to the trustee’s counsel. Fred Wilpon, Saul and the other partners did not know that Bernie Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.”
Mike Lupica calls the lawsuit a “smear campaign” and says that if he wasn’t before, Fred Wilpon certainly is a victim of Bernie Madoff now.
You don’t have to think Fred Wilpon is some great baseball man. The Mets have won one World Series in the years he has owned the team and have been to two. The last two years, for Mets fans, have been a calamity. Now he is caught in this perfect storm that starts with the knock on Madoff’s door in December of 2008. Now there is this lawsuit and the Mets looking for a new partner.
Worse than that, there is this sudden notion that Fred Wilpon, who came out of Brooklyn in the ’50s and made this kind of life for himself, was either too stupid to know what was going on or too greedy to care. People have always questioned whether he was really a victim of Bernie Madoff’s. Now he is.
It’s about time that the Mets camp start firing back after a week of taking direct hits and incoming missiles. I don’t know why they took so long and allowed the other side to bash them unmercifully and gain the upper hand in the publics perception.
I always believe that there are two sides to every story and then there’s the truth. I’m sure that in the end we’ll never know the entire truth, but I do know one thing, someone on the other side has been leaking sealed information to the media, and I can almost guarantee you it wasn’t the Mets.