NEW YORK — For $1,510, you can put yourself in Bernard Madoff's place _ his Citi Field seats, that is.
The trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities put a pair of tickets for Monday's Citi Field opener on sale on eBay on Wednesday. As of midnight, the current bid was $1,500 for the tickets, seats 5-6 in the eighth row in section 11, just to the home plate side of the New York Mets' dugout.
There was a deadline of 9:56 a.m. EDT Sunday to bid for the seats, which are called Delta Club Gold and come with access to the Delta Club behind home plate. The tickets retail for $525 apiece, and 13 bids for the pair had been made. The next bid would have to be at least $10 more.
Lawyer Irving H. Picard worked out a deal with the Mets, returning to the team two $695 seats in the second row, called Delta Club Platinum, in exchange for the pair being sold on eBay. Links for other April tickets to be sold will be posted on Picard's Web site, . http://www.madofftrustee.com
Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz were close to Madoff, who pleaded guilty March 12 in federal court to 11 counts, including securities fraud and perjury, stemming from a Ponzi scheme prosecutors said was worth $64.8 billion. The 70-year-old Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison at sentencing June 16.
Wilpon, Katz and many entities of their company, Sterling Equities, and various affiliated foundations are among the swindled creditors.
According to a motion filed with the bankruptcy court, Madoff's firm bought two Delta Club Platinum ticket _ section 16, row 2, seats 5-6 _ for $80,190. Those tickets are worth $295-$695 per game, depending on the opponent and day of the week, and average $495 _ the top price in the ballpark.
The Mets agreed to exchange them for the Delta Club Gold Seats, which are worth $60,750, a range of $225-$525 per game and an average of $375. The team will refund the $19,440 different between the face values.
If the court approves, April seats would be sold for individual games and the rest as a package. The trustee felt the less expensive Delta Gold seats were "more marketable" and gained renewal rights for the purchaser of the bulk of the season plan.
The Mets also said they would make the opening bid of 50 percent of face value.
Separately, the Mets auctioned 100 tickets for the season opener with a list price of $525 (Delta Club Gold), $315 (Delta Club Silver), $280 (Ebbets Club) and $210 (Metropolitan Box). According to the team's Web site, the winning minimum bids were $860, $760, $470 and $410.