Bloomberg News

Madoff Judge Grants Mets Owners’ Request for Confidentiality

October 20, 2011

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Mets owners won new confidentiality restrictions on information the liquidator of Bernard Madoff’s firm gathers ahead of a trial over his right to take back money withdrawn from the con man’s Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan set a March 19 trial date for trustee Irving Picard’s case against the Major League Baseball team owners after narrowing by two-thirds the $1 billion demanded by Picard from Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. In an order published yesterday, Rakoff said he disagreed with Picard, who had said Rakoff couldn’t modify the confidentiality rules the trustee currently uses in bankruptcy court.

“The defendants’ proposal keeps confidential everything that was previously marked confidential and simply adds some modest, standard, further restrictions,” Rakoff said.

The trustee’s fear of added administrative burdens from the changes “appears exaggerated,” he wrote.

Amanda Remus, a Picard spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Picard originally demanded $300 million in profit and $700 million in principal from the Mets partners in a complaint alleging they turned a blind eye to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The partners denied the allegations.

Rakoff said Picard could try to reclaim about $386 million, based on bankruptcy claims. Picard has asked Rakoff to let him appeal the decision.

Picard initially sued the Mets owners in bankruptcy court. They asked Rakoff to handle the case.

The case is Picard v. Katz, 11-cv-03605, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Mary Romano

To contact the reporters on this story: Linda Sandler in New York at lsandler@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.


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