BUSINESS
02/05/2013 01:37 pm ET Updated Feb 05, 2013

New York Mets' Owners Proposed Casino To Allegedly Help Pay Madoff Bills

The owners of the New York Mets reportedly want to build a Las Vegas-style hotel and casino to help pay off a huge bill they owe the victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

The New York Post revealed Tuesday a proposal to build a massive full-service hotel and casino practically next door to Citi Field in Willets Point, Queens. The proposal by owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz's real estate developer Sterling Equities, however, was quickly dashed by the city, given that it included Vegas-style gaming tables, which are currently illegal in the state of New York.

Still, hope may remain for the casino. Last June, the city granted Sterling -- along with another development company -- permission to build a 1 million square foot retail, residential and entertainment complex at the same location. With Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators considering turning over a ban on gaming tables, some have suggested the location would be ideal for such a casino in the future, according to CBS New York.

In March, the Mets' owners agreed to pay $162 million to settle charges that they ignored signs that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme.

As of May 2012, Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of recovering assets for victims of Madoff’s fraud, had recovered approximately $9 billion of the $20 billion lost by victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the New York Times reports.

Update: Queens Development Group, a joint venture between Sterling Equities and Related Companies responsible for the project on Willets Point, told The Huffington Post that current plans do not include an Indian or commercial casino:

Our plans for Willets Point DO NOT include an Indian or commercial casino, which is illegal. Even if it were legal, it would not be allowed under the environmental process we are undertaking and our agreement with the City prohibits this use.

The $3 billion investment we are making in Willets Point will clean up land that has experienced a century of environmental contamination and will result in a mixed-use community that will create thousands of jobs, affordable housing and significant economic activity for the area.

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