Never one to duck a question, Rep. Peter King on Friday blasted the trustee in the Bernard Madoff case for going after the owners of the New York Mets and suggested the government should bail out the Ponzi scheme victims.
"Maybe that is the way we should be going," King (R-Seaford) said in a morning segment on WFAN/660 AM, referring to creation of a compensation fund.
King accused trustee Irving Picard of distorting evidence and character assassination in court filings against the Wilpon family and its partners in the ownership of the Mets. He added that perhaps someone should investigate Picard for the fees his law firm is earning in the Madoff case.
A spokeswoman for Picard declined to comment Friday.
"I think Picard has abused his power and the media has sort of fallen for it," King said on the radio show.
The high-ranking Republican says he is a friend of Fred Wilpon and has acknowledged receiving campaign contributions from him and his partners. King, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, also is on the Financial Services Committee.
Federal records show King pulled in about $9,000 in campaign contributions from Wilpon and some of his partners from 2000 through 2009.
Picard was appointed as bankruptcy trustee right after Madoff was arrested in December 2008 and has recovered about $10 billion for customers in a Ponzi scheme that lost $20 billion in total investments.
The trustee recently sued the Wilpons, partner Saul Katz and other Mets owners for up to $1 billion, including $300 million in profits from their Madoff accounts. Picard alleges the team owners knew or should have known of Madoff's scam, something the defendants have denied.
So far, Picard and his law firm Baker & Hostetler have earned $131 million, paid by the nonprofit Securities Investor Protection Corp.