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!

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.