Fred Wilpon

Madoff bankruptcy trustee increases his claim against Wilpon and friends: to one BILLION dollars

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You can ask for anything you want in a complaint, but when you start off by asking for $300 million from the Wilpons and Saul Katz, and then increase your demand to one billion, one would assume there’s a reason for that:

The amended complaint also provides additional substantiation of the inter-dependent relationship between Sterling and BLMIS as well as certain Sterling partners’ knowledge of Madoff’s dishonesty in his investment advisory business. For instance, the amended complaint details a multi-million-dollar interest- and cost-free bridge loan from Madoff to Sterling in connection with its purchase of the broadcast rights for the New York Mets from Cablevision. This transaction was documented by a single letter agreement that falsely described the loan as an “investment” by Ruth Madoff in the company that would later become the SNY network.

That’s from the press release announcing the amended complaint.  If SNY is somehow brought into this lawsuit and somehow encumbered, it’s major trouble for the Wilpons, as the network is probably more valuable to them than the Mets are.

Now, I shall go refresh the New York Times web page until I see some great pro-Picard spin, and refresh the Daily News until I see some great pro-Wilpon spin.  Meanwhile: certain commenters who tend to be pro-Wilpon in these matters: please explain to us how this is no big deal.

UPDATE:  I received an email from the Wilpons’ and Katz’s P.R. people, with statements from both Fred Wilpon and from the New York Mets.  Here’s Wilpon’s statement:

“The amended complaint is the latest chapter in the work of fiction created by the Trustee.  We will pursue a vigorous legal defense that will set the record straight and vindicate us.”

And here’s the statement from David Cohen, the General Counsel of the Mets:

“This is more nonsense from the Trustee. The $54 million represented funds the Sterling partners had invested with Madoff, as the Trustee acknowledges. As the Trustee also acknowledges, that money was never used — and in fact was returned the next day — because the necessary funds were received from Sterling’s lenders by the buyout deadline, and were used to fund the buyout.”

A press release from the plaintiff and Official Statements from the defendants ain’t exactly the most efficient way to get to the truth of the matter, but I suppose that’s what the courts are for.

Good luck, gentlemen! We’re all watching!

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.