Faith in Madoff a clue, court papers say

Feb. 21, 2012 at 10:23 AM
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NEW YORK, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The owners of the New York Mets baseball team were just too confident in their Bernard Madoff investments, a court-appointed trustee said.

Trustee Irving Picard is assigned the task of retrieving funds for victims of Bernard Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

His lawsuit against Mets owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon, says the pair banked on high returns from Madoff to the point that they were penciled in the Mets' budget.

Picard says by displaying such extreme confidence in their Madoff returns, the Mets' owners have revealed they were aware that Madoff was running an illegal operation. The New York Times reported Tuesday Saul Katz referred to Madoff returns as "the vig," a gambler's term that is short for "vigor," referring to money a bookmaker earns no matter which way the bet turns out -- guaranteed returns, in other words.

Katz's son, David, in a deposition said: "You borrow money at 5 percent and you'd make 10 percent. You'd make 'vig,' as my father would say, on the Bernie investment."

The Mets' owners were so confident of the returns from the swindler, they would borrow money for Madoff investments, Picard charges in court papers.

The papers have been filed in advance of a court hearing meant to decide what will be dismissed or included in a trial scheduled to begin March 19.

Attorneys for the Mets' owners say their clients did not know Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. After all, investment regulators did not spot the scam for years.

Madoff was arrested in December 2008 and later sentenced to a 150-year prison term.

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