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Friday, September 23, 2011

Wilpon and Katz once offered a piece of the Mets to Madoff-NY Times

"The tiny share of the Mets that Wilpon bought in 1980 was important to his real estate business...because it gave Sterling instant credibility and celebrity in real estate circles."... "Wilpon and Katz, his brother-in-law, also own a chunk of a hedge fund that manages billions of dollars, and in recent years
  • they held their enterprise out to the public as an expert investment operation.

And in one of the more striking revelations to come to light, it was disclosed that Wilpon and Katz, who fought long and hard to make the Mets an exclusive holding of their family,

  • once offered a piece of the team to Madoff....

Wilpon and one of his senior partners say they were aware of investigations of Madoff by the Securities and Exchange Commission

  • but were always comforted that nothing seemed to come of them....

Among its best-known developments are Citi Field, the $800 million home of the Mets, and the Lipstick Building in Manhattan, where Madoff had his offices and where

  • he met Wilpon and Katz for lunch from time to time.
The tiny share of the Mets that Wilpon bought in 1980 was important to his real estate business, said John Pickett, who brought him into the ownership group, because it gave Sterling instant credibility and celebrity in real estate circles. Subsequently, Wilpon and Katz became half-owners with Nelson Doubleday in 1986,
  • then bought him out in 2002."...
Sterling also ran its own version of an in-house bank; created real estate funds and a hedge fund that manages billions of dollars... “The issue isn’t really going to turn, in my view, on whether Wilpon and Katz were sophisticated,” said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the S.E.C. “They surely were as to some things.”

He added: “Their claim has to be, ultimately, that they weren’t aware of the scam being perpetrated and therefore have no obligation to return funds that were paid out to them. That shouldn’t make it important whether they were sophisticated or not.”"

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