Picard/Wilpons/Mets – Friday the 13th Brings with it the Deadline for Resolving Open Issues in their Settlement – Installment 73

April 12, 2012Articles White Collar Defense & Compliance Blog

In a posting on March 19, this blog series reported that a settlement (the “Settlement”) was reached between Madoff Trustee Irving Picard (the "Trustee") and the numerous defendants, the Wilpon-Katz-Mets individual, business, family trust and charitable interests (the “Wilpons”). While the Memorandum of Understanding (the “Memorandum”) respecting the Settlement stated that it was a legally binding document, the Memorandum contained a number of conditions to finalizing the Settlement to be completed on or before Friday, the 13th of April, 2012.

Although this matter has been relatively quiescent in the media since the Settlement, the parties have undoubtedly been working around the clock to meet the deadlines. There is a possibility that some of the conditions will not be resolved by April 13 as discussed below. The conditions required for the parties’ resolution by tomorrow under the Memorandum include the following:

1. The obligations of the Trustee Irving Picard in reaching the Settlement are subject to the approval of District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. (Presumably such approval cannot occur until all other conditions for the Settlement have been resolved.)

2. The approval of the Settlement by all required lenders to the Wilpons is to be obtained by the Wilpons. (Because it may be assumed that such lenders were part of the original process of entering into the Memorandum, this condition should be satisfied by the deadline.)

3. The parties to the Memorandum are to enter into definitive documentation reflecting the terms of the Settlement and “other terms customary for agreements of this type as expeditiously as reasonable possible, but in no event later than April 13, 2012.” If the parties cannot reach agreement on such definitive documentation by April 13, the Memorandum calls for differences to be resolved by binding arbitration to be conducted by a lawyer selected by former Governor Mario Cuomo. (This arbitration process contemplates potential delay of finalization of the Settlement and approval of Judge Rakoff but does not change the fact that the Settlement is said to be “binding on the parties.”)

4. The Memorandum provides that from March 19, 2012 to April 13, 2012, the Wilpons are to provide the Trustee with reasonable access to information that enables the Trustee to confirm the basis for the Settlement and the representations of the Wilpons. (Query: If the Settlement is not fully finalized by April 13, 2012, does the Trustee lose his right of “reasonable access to information” thereafter? What if the Trustee cannot confirm the basis for the Settlement and the representations of the Wilpons?)

There still may be items of interest or surprise flowing from this case before (or even after) final approval is given by Judge Rakoff.

[To be continued in Installment 74]