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White Collar Defense & Compliance Developments in Criminal Law, Federal Case Law and Statutory Developments

Picard/Wilpons/Mets – Friday the 13th Becomes a Propitious Day for the Mets Ownership – Installment 74

Posted in Bernard Madoff

Michael J. Kline writes:

Shortly before midnight last night Adam Rubin of ESPN reported that Madoff Trustee Irving Picard had filed court papers seeking approval of the settlement (the “Settlement”), which was reached on March 19, 2012 with numerous defendants, constituting the Wilpon-Katz-Mets individual, business, family trust and charitable interests (the “Wilpons”). A posting on this blog series earlier in the day had discussed prospects for the parties’ finalizing arrangements by the deadline set for yesterday.


The account by Rubin reflects the efforts made in the Trustee’s press release (the “Press Release”) to establish on a point-by-point basis that all of the required conditions for consummating the Settlement had been achieved to request final approval of Federal District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Rubin’s posting states that the Trustee gave the following as his reasons for agreeing to the Settlement:


The Settlement Agreement represents a good faith, complete and final settlement between the two parties. It is a practical and fair compromise of complex litigation issues and avoids a protracted and expensive trial and lengthy appeals. The settlement is in the best interests of the BLMIS [Madoff bankruptcy] Customer Fund and the BLMIS customers with allowed claims – who were defrauded by the Madoff Ponzi scheme – who will ultimately receive distributions of recovered monies from the Customer Fund.


Rubin reports that a hearing for approval of the settlement before Judge Rakoff has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, 2012, at 4:00 p.m. Such approval appears to be the only condition for implementation of the Settlement. With all of the painstaking preparation that has gone into achieving the Settlement to this point, one would expect such approval to be primarily a formality.


There is, however, an open item for those who are interested in the legal reasoning and judicial thinking put forth by Judge Rakoff during the proceedings. An earlier blog posting in this series noted that Judge Rakoff had issued significant Orders on March 5 and March 14, 2012 (the "Orders") without accompanying Opinions. In rendering the Orders, Judge Rakoff had stated that an Opinion to explain the Orders would be forthcoming later. To date, the Judge has not yet published such an Opinion. Because the Orders may have played a pivotal role in leading to the Settlement by the litigants, such an Opinion would be helpful for future legal guidance on important issues.


(Michael J. Kline is the author of this entry and the author of an on-going analysis of the concerns of Madoff stakeholders. Mr. Kline is a partner with Fox Rothschild LLP, based in our Princeton, NJ office, and is a past Chair of the firm’s Corporate Department. He concentrates his practice in the areas of corporate, securities, and health law, and frequently writes and speaks on topics such as corporate compliance, governance and business and nonprofit law and ethics.)


[To be continued in Installment 75]