Buried on the 136th page of the 365-page complaint filed against the owners of the New York Mets by the trustee of Bernard Madoff’s bankruptcy case is a sentence saying Madoff made “large donations” to the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, where Mets co-owner Saul Katz was a former chairman of the board.
But a North-Shore LIJ spokesman said Madoff was not considered a main donor to the health system — giving $216,000 over 36 years, or $6,000 a year up until his $65 billion Ponzi scheme crumbled in 2008.
“LIJ had no personal relationship with Bernie Madoff or members of the Madoff family,” North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam said.
Lynam also denied reports that Madoff was a member of the North Shore-LIJ board of trustees or board of directors of its Feinstein Institute, which surfaced when the Ponzi scheme came to light.
Lynam said Madoff’s donations to hospitals began in 1972, before they fell under the umbrella of the North Shore-LIJ Health System in 1997 and before Katz was a member of North Shore-LIJ’s board.
When Madoff started giving money to North Shore-LIJ, his Ponzi scheme had not yet started, Lynam noted.
The lawsuit filed by Irving Picard, trustee of the Madoff bankruptcy, seeks $1 billion from the owners of the Mets, including $300 million in so-called “fictitious profits.”
While Picard said the Mets owners should have known that their gains from Madoff were ill-gotten, the owners argued they could not have known about the scheme when the Securities and Exchange Commission vetted Madoff’s operation.
A portion of the suit attempts to show how close Madoff was with the Wilpon and Katz families, who own the Mets.
“Madoff made large donations to the North Shore LIJ, in which Saul Katz was intimately involved,” the suit claimed.
Lynam said Katz joined the board of Glen Cove Hospital in 1982, 10 years after Madoff made his first donation to North Shore-LIJ hospitals.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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