(Bloomberg News) The $1 billion legal fight between the New York Mets baseball team owners and the trustee liquidating con man Bernard Madoff's firm will be mediated by former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

The 78-year-old father of Governor Andrew Cuomo was assigned yesterday to act as go-between by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland in Manhattan, according to a court filing.

"There are special issues presented in the adversary proceeding that suggest referral to an appropriately experienced mediator," he said in his order.

Trustee Irving Picard wants to recover $300 million in alleged phony profits from Madoff's scheme made by Sterling Equities Inc., which owns the Mets baseball team, and as much as $700 million in principal, said his lawyer, David Sheehan. The Mets owners used $90 million in Madoff profits for day-to-day operations, blinding them to "red flags" signaling that Madoff was a fraud, Picard said in his complaint unsealed last week.

The allegations were "abusive, unfair and untrue," Mets Chairman Fred Wilpon and Mets President Saul Katz said. Picard was trying to "strong arm" them into settling "by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses which we have built for over 50 years," they said in a statement.

Cuomo, after serving as governor from 1983 to 1994, moved to the New York-based law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, where he is a senior lawyer.

Minor League Baseball

He played minor league baseball in 1952 for the Brunswick Pirates of the Georgia-Florida League, according to Baseball- Reference.com.

Cuomo has acted as a court-appointed mediator in asbestos litigation, and worked on settlements in bankruptcy court, according to court filings.

As governor for 12 years he was chief executive officer of the 10th-largest economy in the world with a budget of about $60 billion and was "required to negotiate constantly with the legislature, one house of which was dominated by his political opposition," according to a 2007 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

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