Monday, March 19, 2012

Not Sterling Silver

The Wilpons and their Sterling Equities investment arm took a major hit today when they agreed to settle their fraud case rather than go to trial. As the WSJ reports: "The owners of the New York Mets baseball team have reached a settlement in which they will pay $162 million to resolve litigation by the trustee seeking to recover funds for victims of Bernard Madoff's fraud."

As the Journal points out the stakes here were high: "The Mets owners couldn't afford to repay the $300 million in principal invested and later withdrawn that Mr. Picard is additionally seeking, say people familiar with the team's finances and with the Wilpon family. A loss might have meant they might have had to sell additional stakes in the team and could've possibly lost control of the team."

All we can say is, "Karma's a bitch!" Maybe that's what happens when you covet your neighbor's property. More importantly this financial hit raises ethical and legal questions about the suitability of Sterling Equities as a bidder for the development rights at Willets Point-and another reason why NYC EDC needs to come clean and announce openly who the actual bidders are.

Given the fact that one supposed bidder-TDC-has so far failed to raise the funds to develop Flushing Commons, and another-Related-has stuck its finger in the eyes of the elected officials with its Wal-Mart dalliance, transparency should reign supreme. Even more so now that Sterling has been tarnished and financially diminished.