For the better part of a year, it’s been widely reported Mets owner Fred Wilpon and team COO Jeff Wilpon had lost so much money in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme, the club wasn’t likely to be a player in the free agent market after Madoff’s indictment. One observer even claimed the Wilpons would soon be forced to sell the team, such was the extent of the fraud. Via trusty mouthpiece David Howard, ownership insisted things were a-ok. As it turns out, they might’ve been telling the truth, which makes their inactivity after the K-Rod signing that much hard to excuse. From’s Erik Larson :

An entity tied to the New York Mets baseball team and its owner Sterling Equities Inc. might be sued for withdrawing $47.8 million more from Bernard Madoff”s firm than it deposited with the con man, a lawyer said.

Mets LP placed a total of $522.7 million in two Madoff accounts and withdrew $570.5 million over an unspecified period, Irving Picard, the court-appointed liquidator, said in a filing Oct. 19 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

Picard has sued Madoff’s biggest investors and longtime beneficiaries, including hedge-fund firms, philanthropists and family members, seeking the return of about $15 billion in what he calls fake profit from the fraud. Sterling Equities, led by Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, hasn’t been sued.

œIt cannot be argued on Wilpon’s behalf “that these were legitimate investment returns,” Bradley Simon, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York, who isn’t involved in the case, said yesterday in an interview. “it would be a violation of his fiduciary duty for Picard to not seek the return of that money.”