Mario Cuomo Enters Madoff Mets Mess

By Jonathan Dienst
|  Friday, Feb 11, 2011  |  Updated 6:41 AM EDT
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Bernard Madoff & His Victims

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Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo is stepping in the middle of the $1 billion fight between the New York Mets and the trustee trying to recoup money for victims of Bernard Madoff.

Cuomo has been appointed by bankruptcy court judge Bernard Lifland to serve as a mediator between the owners of the Mets and Madoff trustee Irving Picard.

Picard is suing the Mets owners -- Fred Wilpon and his Sterling Equities associates -- for between $300 million and as much as $ 1 billion for allegedly ignoring clear warning signs of fraud as they continued to cash in over the years.

Wilpon and others deny any wrongdoing, claiming the trustee is trying to force them into an unfair settlement. Judge Lifland claims there are 'special issues' that call for the involvment of an experienced mediator like Cuomo.

Meanwhile, reporters from more than 20 news organizations filed a written complaint with Judge Lifland Thursday for allowing the trustee and defense parties to keep court documents and filings sealed without any apparent legal finding or explanation in what is the biggest financial fraud case in history.

Federal law and the First Amendment requires a presumptive right of access to judicial records. Since the Mets case is now going into mediation, the Judge Thursday ordered "no documents relating to the matter to be mediated shall be filed with the Court."

But numerous other filings about alleged wrongdoing by major banks in the Madoff case remain filed under seal with the bankruptcy court.

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