February 11, 2011

Says “experienced mediator” needed for case seeking recovery of alleged phony profits and principal from Ponzi scheme

The $1 billion dollar dispute between the trustee representing defrauded former clients of Bernard Madoff and the owners of the New York Mets received major-league attention when the judge in the case assigned Willkie of counsel Gov. Mario Cuomo to mediate the matter. The trustee has charged that the Mets owners wrongfully enriched themselves by ignoring "red flags" and failing to investigate warnings that Madoff was conducting a Ponzi scheme. The $1 billion figure reflects $300 million in alleged phony profits and $700 million in principal that the owners had withdrawn since 2002.

In appointing Gov. Mario Cuomo, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland said the special issues presented in the case needed an "appropriately experienced mediator."

The current dispute is not the first time since joining Willkie that Gov. Mario Cuomo has been called in to mediate high-profile matters. In addition to working on settlements in bankruptcy court, he was appointed in 2004 to mediate a case linked to the bankruptcy of Johns-Manville Corp. between victims of asbestos-related diseases and Travelers Property Casualty Corporation.

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