MLB

Mario Cuomo named mediator in Mets case

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NEW YORK (AP)

Now batting in the legal mess involving Bernard Madoff and the New York Mets: Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Manhattan appointed Cuomo on Thursday to serve as a mediator in a legal dispute between the Mets owners and the court-appointed trustee trying to recover money for victims of Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

The trustee, Irving H. Picard, has accused Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and affiliated Sterling Equities entities of making $300 million in fictitious profits from Madoff's swindle and ignoring warnings that Madoff's returns were implausible.

The Wilpons and Katz have denied wrongdoing, saying they are among Madoff's victims.

''The court has ordered the parties to engage in mediation. We have nothing further to say at this time,'' Sterling Equities said in a statement.

Cuomo was governor from 1983-94, and his son Andrew became governor last month. Mario Cuomo was a minor league outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1952 before becoming a lawyer and politician. He hit .244 at Class D Brunswick in the Georgia-Florida League.

Before he was governor, Cuomo represented Queens residents in housing disputes, and Mayor John Lindsey appointed him to mediate when a low income public housing was to be built in a wealthier neighborhood.

''The court determines that there are special issues presented ... that suggest referral to an appropriately experienced mediator, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland wrote.

He said both sides consented to the choice of Cuomo.

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