Noreen Harrington, portrayed in this morning’s New York Times (“Previous Success for Witness in Mets Case”) is a woman you’re going to hear more about starting next Tuesday, March 19, when trial begins in U.S. District Court of claims brought by Trustee Irving Picard, on behalf of the many victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, against Mets Owner Fred Wilpon and his Sterling Equities fund. Back in 2003, Harrington was hired Wilpon and his associates; she will testify that she told them not to invest in any of Madoff’s funds, because no records existed which could confirm reliable details of the investment. According to Harrington, when she gave that advice to the Wilpon associates, they became “upset”, and she packed up her things and left.
Harrington is a major problem for Wilpon, and for his buddy Bud Selig, who has allied himself much too closely with an effort to prop up Wilpon’s increasingly shaky financial empire — as is thoroughly outlined in Howard Megdal’s thorough and quite riveting ebook, Fred Wilpon: The Story of a Man, His Fortune, and the New York Mets. Because Judge Rakoff has just ruled that Wilpon and his associates have the burden of proving that they were not “wilfully blind” to Madoff’s fraud, Harrington’s testimony as to the apparent “wilfullness” with which her warnings were dismissed by the Wilpon crowd is a strong signal that hundreds of millions of dollars in additional paybacks by Wilpon may be ordered by the jury — thereby increasing chances that Wilpon’s empire, and his ownership of the Mets, may all come crumbling down. Here’s to Ms. Harrington.