Just How Much Did the Mets Love Madoff’s Money?

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Photo: Mario Tama/2009 Getty Images

The Mets really, really liked Madoff's money, according to the newest revelations from the much-disliked court-appointed Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, with whom they're engaged in a protracted legal battle. The accusations aren't really surprising but will probably make you slap your forehead and shake your head a bit sadly. Saul Katz, reports the Times, referred to it as the "vig," which is a gambling term for the money the house makes on every transaction, no matter the outcome. Which it was, kind of, only Madoff was the house, not the Mets. 

Perhaps subliminally inspired by Madoff's scheming chakra, the team's owners got a bit creative themselves with their use of the vig, at least as Picard tells it. The Mets' owners say he's "distorted" their actions. And they've fired back at Picard before, saying his accusations amount to coercion — an attempt to get them to accept a less-than-favorable settlement. Still, this doesn't look great for them:

Katz and Wilpon, according to the trustee, structured player contracts to draw out the timing of their payments. They would then invest the money they owed the players with Madoff and make a profit across the many years of the contract payments. That, too, was the vig.

The men, real estate moguls, also invested the excess proceeds from mortgages they refinanced with Madoff’s brokerage operation on the belief that his returns would be greater than their mortgage payments. That was the vig.

Finally, instead of paying disability insurance premiums for key players on the team, the trustee says, Katz and Wilpon put the money into an account — called “Saul’s cookie jar” — to pay injured players. That, as well, was the vig.

And now they're left wondering who stole the cookies from the cookie jar. Nope, actually, they know the answer to that one.