A jolt of good news for the Mets today as a judge made a preliminary ruling in the Picard vs. Wilpon clawback lawsuit that essentially dismissed all but two counts against the Mets. The NY Post writes:
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said Tuesday the lawsuit brought by Trustee Irving Picard can seek to recover up to $295 million in profits that were paid out to the Mets’ owners during the multi-decade fraud. But he says Picard gain that sum only by proving the Mets’ owners were “willfully blind” to the fraud.
Rakoff says Picard’s claim otherwise would be limited to $83.3 million, the fictitious profits accumulated by the Mets’ owners in the two years before the fraud was revealed.
Picard was seeking to recover as much as $1 billion dollars from the Mets owners in his clawback lawsuit. Now it appears that Picard can only seek to recover up to $295 million in profits that were paid out to the Mets’ owners, but ONLY if he can prove that the Mets’ owners were “willfully blind” to the fraud. Otherwise the Mets are only on the hook for $83.3 million and that’s everything.
Whereas the burden or proof was inititially upon the Mets owners to prove their innocence, the burden now shifts to Picard who must prove the Wilpons committed fraud, something that will be extremely difficult to do without any tangible evidence.
This can only be summed up as a tremendous win for the Mets the way I see it.
Also in other financial news, today Mets GM confirmed that the Mets payroll will be in the $120 million dollar range – significantly higher than the $100 million dollar figure that has been floating around for most of the season.
Good day for the Wilpons, and a good day for the Mets and fans as well… Perfect timing with the Hot Stove season only days away!