Compared to a bankruptcy and a messy court fight lasting years, the settlement provides significant value, and even lets the trustee marshal his resources elsewhere. That the $162 million ultimately comes from the pool of Madoff net losers should be vaguely galling to the actual net losers, since it means they are paying for Wilpon’s inability to pay. But it is after all the trustee’s responsibility to maximize returns for the victims, not settle scores.
One relevant question now is whether other potential investors were scared off by the Picard lawsuit, in which case they might hypothetically feel differently about investing in the team, or if the enormous financial burdens facing the current owners still make the proposition a nonstarter. After all, it’s still not a great deal, at least in money terms: They’re being asked to put up $20 million, with a nominal return of three percent annual interest and no option to cash out until 2018.
The answer to that question should come soon enough, either through a finalizing of those minority ownerships, or a bankruptcy triggered by Wilpon and his partners’ failure to pay one upcoming obligation or another. But a trial, which might at least have provided some finality to a saga that has gone on for far too long in the eyes of Mets fans—it was scheduled to end on April 3, just two days before the Mets begin the season by hosting the Braves—has been averted.
Picard is now out of the picture. Apparently pursuing justice on behalf of one brutalized constituency was enough for him.
Posted: March 19, 2012 at 03:53 PM | 7 comment(s)
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