How many All-Star free agents could $162 million have bought the New York Mets? Unfortunately, Mets fans will never know because the money will be used to settle a lawsuit between Irving Picard and Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz.
Picard, the trustee for victims of Bernard Madoff’s multibillion scheme, alleged that Mets owners profited from Madoff’s scam despite the very obvious signs Madoff’s investment returns were false.
Here are a few lessons we learn from the $162 million strikeout by Mets owners:
1) The “smart money” is pretty dumb. While it’s true the “smart money” like Wilpon and Katz may have avoided the dot-com and housing crash, it was only because they were fully invested in Madoff’s fictitious investment scam.
2) Irving Picard is a dislikeable character. Picard and his legal wrecking machine are not just a formidable crew, but they are arguably the most hated people on Wall Street, aside from everyone else that’s hated on Wall Street. Thus far, Pic’s team has recovered $11 billion, which might be enough to purchase the National League’s entire Eastern Division. If there’s anyone who could remotely make Eliot Spitzer and Lloyd Blankfein look likeable, it would be Picard.
3) There’s still a bull market in lawsuits and the attorneys on both sides are getting rich. Mets owners settled for $162 million, but how much did their legal counsel vacuum in before reaching it? No matter how much Mets legal advisors try to spin the settlement into a positive thing, it’s a very long way — probably light-years away — from the owners’ original goal of a total victory.
4) In retrospect, Bernard Madoff’s multibillion investment scam was really a “Madoff Scheme” and not a “Ponzi Scheme.” Memo to the media: Get your story straight and stop slandering a dead man.
Ron DeLegge is the editor of ETFguide.com and author of Gents with No Cents: A Closer Look at Wall Street, its Customers, Financial Regulators and the Media (Half Full Publishing Group, 2011).