After being ordered to pay $83 million to Bernie Madoff's trustees two weeks ago, the Mets owners reentered court today to work their way out of paying much more. As Rich Sandomir of the Times announced with an exclamation, that job was over soon after it began. Instead of letting a jury decide whether or not they'd willfully ignored Madoff's fraudulent dealings, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz reached a settlement with his trustees. They'll pay Irving Picard and the rest of the trustees $162 million — quite a few dollars, but nothing compared to the extra $303 million on the line (nor the $1 billion originally pushed by Picard).
As Sandomir explained in detail this morning, the possibility of a settlement has long seemed unlikely, given how drawn-out and hostile this whole ordeal has been. A trial, however, could have made things even worse — further tarnishing the reputations of Katz and Wilpon, creating an ongoing distraction during the Mets' season, and, of course, potentially demanding the maximum payout.
Instead, ownership can skirt the courtroom and doesn't have to make payments (which can come out of money recovered from Madoff dealings) for three years. And while they're still in financial straits, the Mets as an organization can concentrate more on baseball and less on matters away from the playing field. That ... should be a good thing.