Wilpon Lawyers Off to Court Friday

August 18, 2011 – In The News

Hoping to have part of the $1 billion lawsuit against them tossed, the attorneys of Fred Wilpon and family will be in Federal District Court Friday afternoon to help determine the financial fate of the Mets Owner.

In effort to collect money and return it to victims of the Bernie Madoff scheme, Trustee Irvin Picard is suing Wilpon and some of his relatives for $1 billion. Of that sum, $300 million is "fictitious profits." The other $700 million is principal Picard wants the Wilpons to forfeit because he claims they should have known of Madoff's fraud.

Michael J. Kline said the Wilpons may be able to reduce the $300 million figure slightly through legal arguments over statutes of limitations on recovering certain funds. Kline does believe the extra $700 million sought by Picard ultimately will be tossed.

"I think it's stretching," Kline said.

Regardless, Kline does not expect the $700 million to be tossed on Friday.

"There are really factual aspects of the case," Kline said. "So (Rakoff) might want testimony. He might want further review of legal arguments."

"He would be making a decision whether the trustee has the right to pursue the claim. It's a question of a matter of law, the degree to which a person has the obligation to be thinking about the results of the broker's investments and whether they're too good to be true."

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