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Big League Stew

Mets owners settle for $162 million before civil case

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon during a press conference in Oct. 2010. (AP file)

The New York Mets' big court case has been called on account of settlement.

That's the word from Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, who tweets the settlement in the Bernie Madoff-related civil case is worth $162 million with Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz on the hook for about $29 million.

Jury selection in the civil case was slated to begin on Monday morning. The trial was to determine whether or not the Mets had to pay back an additional $303 million in fictitious profits it gained from Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme. A previous ruling said that Wilpon and Katz would be responsible for refunding $83 million to investors jilted by Madoff, an unknowing group that the Mets owners still say they were also a part of.  The settlement does not include an admission to the plaintiffs claims that the owners had been willfully ignorant while profiting from Madoff's deception.

The Associated Press also reports that no payments will be made for the next three years, so it would seem Wilpon and Katz will be able to retain ownership of the team for the foreseeable future. In addition, ESPN New York's Adam Rubin says the Mets are entitled to seek recovery of $178 million of their own losses. They may use whatever they recoup to pay off this settlement.

So are we finally done with this story? Well, yes ... and no. While the Mets owners have finally been handed a bill for their involvement with the Madoff mess, they still have to untangle all the finances involved. The three-year delay will buy them some time, but they also have to repay about $65 million in bridge loans and the team plus Citi Field hasn't exactly been a cash-printing machine lately. Their best route to recovery is through a winning team and getting to that point will be a lot more difficult than having some lawyers draft the easy way out.

Make sure you're ready for opening day ...
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