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Most of Madoff Trustee Lawsuit Against Mets Owners Dismissed

A U.S. judge dismissed most counts of a $1 billion lawsuit against New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz by the liquidator of Bernard Madoff’s firm.

Trustee Irving Picard’s effort to clawback most of the $1 billion from the Major League Baseball team owners was based on allegations they suspected Madoff’s fraud and failed in their duty to investigate it, according to court papers.

Picard sued the Mets owners in bankruptcy court in December, demanding the return of $300 million in what he called “fictitious” profit and $700 million in principal taken out of the Madoff firm by Sterling Equities Inc. and its partners. He alleged they had “concerns” that Madoff was conducting a fraud, even shopping for fraud insurance.

Asking U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff to dismiss the suit, the Mets owners said they “never suspected Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme or any other fraudulent enterprise, never shopped for fraud insurance, never thought they needed fraud insurance, and never purchased fraud insurance” for their Madoff investments.

Rakoff’s ruling is another challenge to Picard, who with his firm has filed more than 1,000 suits seeking $100 billion for Madoff investors and charged more than $224 million for work since Madoff’s 2008 arrest.

The bankruptcy court case is Picard v. Katz, 1:10-ap-05287, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The district court case is Picard v. Katz, 11-cv-03605, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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