U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rankoff ruled today that the Wilpons will go to trial by jury in the case involving Irving Picard and the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Picard was originally seeking $1 billion, but Judge Rankoff lowered the maximum the Wilpons could dish out to just $386 million. Here’s what Adam Rubin said in an ESPN New York article today, explaining the situation:
The ruling can be viewed as a victory for Picard from the perspective that a jury might respond differently — and more unpredictably — to courtroom arguments than a judge faced with identical circumstances.
The Wilpon family previously won a much larger courtroom decision, which reduced their potential liability from $1 billion to $386 million — and very possibly to $83 million or less.
In a Sept. 27 decision that has enormous implications for Madoff victims who are depending on the trustee to recover funds to disburse to them, Rakoff ruled that the Wilpons are only potentially on the hook for money received from Madoff in the immediate two years before the convicted swindler was shut down.
Picard wanted to reach back six years, citing New York State law, which exceeds federal regulations by four years.
Picard has appealed that decision. Rakoff has yet to rule about whether to allow the appeal to proceed to a higher court now.
This could go two ways: You could be thrilled because you just want the Wilpons to sell and go away, or you can be upset about it because you like the Wilpons as owners. As Rubin said, juries can have different perspectives than a judge might have, and may rule more favorably towards the victims of the scheme out of sympathy. I, as most people are, am really excited about this. I’ve been hoping that the Wilpons would sell- not because I don’t like them personally, but because they just can’t afford to run a winning franchise. They’re cutting huge amounts of payroll, increasing their debt, and there is only more to come. Please, save us now Jeff Wilpon and sell the team. It would benefit the fans, players, and would make the front office’s jobs so much easier.
Speaking of things the Mets can’t afford anymore, Jose Reyes was offered arbitration today, according to Ken Davidoff of Newsday via Twitter. The deadline to offer free agents arbitration is tonight at midnight Eastern Time. This wasn’t surprising as all, considering the Mets now get two draft picks if Reyes signs elsewhere. He won’t accept arbitration, but the Mets need to offer it to get compensation. Smart move. Obvious move.
Lastly, Patrick Flood has been thinking about food. He has written a few interesting articles here, here, and here about the internet and baseball rumors. A big discussion started about the future of the web, and then Ted Berg, the burrito enthusiast, got involved and posted this. Some really interesting reads.