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!

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.

Report: Rangers agree to six-year extension with Rougned Odor

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The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5 million extension for second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The extension comes with a club option for a seventh year, Heyman adds.

It’s close to the six-year, $52.5 million extension Jason Kipnis netted with the Indians in 2014, a sum Odor was rumored to be seeking during contract negotiations over the last two years. Granted, the circumstances are a little different this time around. Both players signed extensions on the cusp of their fourth year in the major leagues, but at 27 years old, Kipnis was coming off of an All-Star campaign and a career-high 4.5 fWAR performance. Odor, meanwhile, saw mixed results in 2016, batting 33 home runs and putting up 2.0 fWAR while struggling to stay consistent at the plate and exhibiting poor defense.

According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Odor previously agreed to a $563,180 salary for 2017. Depending on when the extension kicks in, it should cover all three of Odor’s arbitration-eligible seasons and two seasons of potential free agency. The team has yet to confirm the extension.