Michael O’Keefe and Teri Thompson of the Daily News is reporting that the Mets filed a motion on late Thursday to have the case against them tossed for lack of evidence by Picard.
After U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed most of the counts in Irving Picard’s $1 billion lawsuit against the owners of the Mets in September, the trustee in the Bernie Madoff liquidation case embarked on an aggressive campaign to dig up dirt.
Picard, according to filing made late Thursday by lawyers for the Mets’ owners asking the judge in a summary judgment motion to dismiss the suit, served more than 100 document requests on the defendants and other parties. He took 20 depositions and even hired a private investigator to question acquaintances of the defendants.
But according the Mets’ filing, Picard did not find any evidence that Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz knew Madoff was running a massive Ponzi scheme, or that Wilpon and Katz had willfully turned a blind eye to Madoff’s scam. Instead, the filing says, Picard’s investigation confirmed that Wilpon and Katz did not know about Madoff’s scheme until it was too late.
“The Trustee has had two very large bites at the discovery apple,” the attorneys for the Mets wrote. “He has an unlimited budget and has spent tens of millions of dollars trying to find support for his baseless allegations.
“He has no evidence that any defendant was suspicious of Madoff. Instead, discovery has confirmed the truth — defendants trusted Madoff until the end.”
The filing comes two months before the suit is scheduled to go to trial in Rakoff’s courtroom.
As I’ve been saying repeatedly on MMO for over a year, there is no smoking gun. There never was. You can’t sue someone for being trusting to a fault or because they invested with blinders on. That’s exactly what Madoff has been trying to do.
If Judge Rakoff rules for the Mets, it will be a monumental task for Picard to get an appeal without showing evidence that they willfully participated in the Ponzi scheme. In effect, a ruling for the Wilpons will essentially squash these proceedings with a resounding blow.