Mets Ticket SVP Allegedly Fired for Being Single Mother

Oh my … following up on the Leigh Castergine story, it turns out that the investigative journalists WERE in fact doing their due diligence — it just took a week to gather the facts.

According to The New York Post, Jeff Wilpon fired Leigh Castergine because “he was morally opposed” to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Wow. Just, wow.

I’m not sure how the Wilpons will be able to keep the Mets, considering the recent bad PR situations created by the owners of the NBA Clippers and Hawks. But this will be an interesting story to see develop.

You can read the entire filed complaint by Castergine vs. Wilpon and the Mets here.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Yeats September 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm
    Is the baby-daddy Steve Philips?
    • Joe Janish September 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm
      Oh, you HAD to go there, did you?
      • Yeats September 10, 2014 at 8:31 pm
        As someone who used to stick his hands in other people’s septic tanks for a living, it seems appropriate that I be the one.
  2. Dan42 September 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm
    No problem, when they move the fences in to give Granderson a shot at earning his contract and satisfy Collins, Mr Met’s perpetual frown from watching opponents feast on their largess will be enough of a distraction to make us forget Jeffie’s stupidity.
    • Joe Janish September 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm
      I don’t think the public at large will be forgetting Jeffy’s stupidity for a long, long time.
  3. DanB September 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm
    Good thing Jeff never gave millions of dollars to players with questionable morals, right Santana or KRod or any Met player who ever had sex before they were married? Idonly this woman spent more time stealing billions in a ponziI scam then getting pregnant. Seriously, had do the Wilpons sell tickets now? Not only is this lawsuit damaging in it its own right, this woman will provide testimony about inner workings of the Mets. All the lies the fans have been told are coming out. This will be juicy. And in the end, the Wilpons will be forced out. Start the stopwatch. I am only sad her life had to torn apart to achieve this.
    • Yeats September 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm
      I don’t think losing a job with the Mets qualifies as having your life “torn apart”. She’s probably well-connected and will find a good job whenever she’s ready.
      • Joe Janish September 10, 2014 at 10:54 pm
        Putting oneself out there in the public with an ugly case like this, that is bound to take many months if not years to resolve, is a major life change. And as for getting a good job elsewhere? Not necessarily easy for a whistleblower, especially one who goes public. Who wants to hire someone who has filed a lawsuit against her last employer?

        I get that it’s her decision to make this a public case, but it wasn’t her decision to be treated like she was a secretary on Mad Men (worse, actually).

        • Yeats September 10, 2014 at 11:11 pm
          Oh, no doubt it’s a major life change, and a big negative. But torn apart? Nah. Suppose something realted to this causes a miscarriage? *That* would be a life torn apart.

          Given the current reputation of the Mets ownership, I don’t think the “whistleblower” tag will have much of an impact. And if this is an isolated case, it’s not much of a whistleblower situation, anyway.

          It doesn’t even matter if she “chose” to go public – its almost guaranteed this would have come out in the media. She’s apparently very smart, so I’m sure she considered the ramification of filing a complaint.

          * And as an aside, we see a lot of people thrust into the public eye for a negative reason eventually benefit from it in the long (or even short) run – financially, notoriety, etc. That’s how the world works these days.

    • Joe Janish September 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm
      I agree on the shady characters given millions by the Mets (I’m still stunned that no one ever made much a stink out of the rape charges against Johan Santana), and agree this is just the tip of the iceberg. This is going to be long and ugly.
  4. Yeats September 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm
    As eager as most of us are to believe the worst of the Wilpons, let’s not forget that Castergine is also a disgruntled ex-employee whose viewpoint may not be entirely in line with what actually transpired.

    I find it interesting she went to HR. I hope for her sake that her complaints were properly documented. A person with her position & experience should know that HR mainly represents Management, not the employee.

    • DanB September 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm
      This is more then he said/she said. There is supposively witnesses (according to the lawsuit). She also wants to bring up shoddy business practices as proof of how good a job she did in a bad situation. I want a front row seat.
      • Yeats September 10, 2014 at 10:38 pm
        LOL, I don’t think there’s any question that the Wilpons are involved in “shoddy business practices”!

        Anyway, her allegation shows bias on her part, naturally. For example, she states that the Mets traded away Cy Young Award winner RA Dickey… but she doesn’t mention that he was in his late 30’s, or that he was traded for the top catching prospect in MLB (who is now the current starting catcher for the Mets), and the Mets also received one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Dickey has been an average pitcher since the trade… so that particular transaction actually shows excellent business savvy & baseball acumen by the Mets.

        And letting Reyes walk… well, since he left the Mets, his performance has decreased and he’s missed the equivalent of a 1/2 season due to injury… so not re-signing him for the big bucks was not the worst thing in the world.

        Really, if her point is to make the Mets look bad from a player personnel standpoint, it won’t happen. Sandy’s had a couple of bombs (bullpen guys, Chris Young) but he’s done some very good things.

        None of that really matters much, though, as it’s simply the filing of the initial complaint.

        • argonbunnies September 12, 2014 at 5:16 am
          Even if trading Dickey was a sound baseball decision, it sure didn’t help the 2013-2014 gate.
      • DaveSchneck September 11, 2014 at 8:11 am
        Madoff couldn’t do it. Picard couldn’t do it. Selig wouldn’t do it. I’m rooting for this woman like I haven’t rooted since the Mets faced the Yanks in 2000. Please, please, no out of court settlements. Get TMZ in the front row. This may be the last chance to de-Wilpon this team once and for all. I knew we could count on you, Jeff.
        • argonbunnies September 12, 2014 at 5:15 am
    • Joe Janish September 10, 2014 at 10:49 pm
      Going to HR, I imagine, is the proper process / route when an employee is in that situation and intends to file a legal complaint — but I hope to get some more insight very soon from an attorney who specializes in cases like this.
      • Matt P September 10, 2014 at 11:05 pm
        Joe– recommend you check out Craig Calcaterra’s take on the complaint:

        He is an attorney who previously specialized in employment discrimination defense work. In short, the allegations here are specific and detailed, including references to particular emails. It looks quite bad for Jeffy.

        With all that said, I am less optimistic than your initial reaction as to whether this might force the Wilpons to sell. The Sterling situation gives some hope since it’s the only apparent category of exception to the notion that “you can’t get rid of a bad owner.” But Buddy (and, presumably, his successors) loves the Wilpons; we’ve already seen them survive a suit accusing them of being aware of the Madoff scheme before that fell apart.

        I think the most likely outcome here is that they pay her a substantial settlement to go away, and that amount is deducted out of the Mets payroll (while the front office repeatedly claims that the suit/settlement will have zero impact on team spending). Would be much better if this forced them to sell to an owner interested in fielding a winner instead of extracting SNY revenues at minimal expense, but unfortunately I think that’s about as likely as Sandy’s 90 win season at this point– mathematically and theoretically possible, but extraordinarily unlikely.

        • Yeats September 10, 2014 at 11:43 pm
          I’m a little surprised Wilpons’ legal counsel even let this happen, tbh.

          If her story is reasonably accurate, she could really hold them up for serious dollars. The Wilponzis might even be put in a situation where that have to choose between settling with Castergine for megamillions or lose the team. What if li’l Jeff is a big-time misogynist?

      • Yeats September 10, 2014 at 11:21 pm
        You go to HR to get your complaint documented, but that’s about it. And you keep it vague – mention no names if the harasser is an executive. And even then, going to HR might not be advisable, as you might say something self-damning. You do not in any way express any desire to seek legal remedy.

        I’m very close with a former HR VP of one of the country’s largest insurance companies.

        • argonbunnies September 12, 2014 at 5:46 am
          Thanks for the tip.

          I kind of got that sense when my company made me undergo a long training and take multiple quizzes and the “correct” answer to EVERY question was “go to HR”.

          That said, I have no idea how to “make a complaint” without mentioning names — that pretty much ensures that HR won’t be able to help me, so it both gives them a pass for non-action and tips them off that I must be planning to deal with it another way.

  5. Jon September 11, 2014 at 11:16 am
    Sadly, I also don’t think this will get the Wilpons removed…just look at the Dolans. Just means more cash flow stripped away from the team in order to pay legal bills…
  6. Bat September 11, 2014 at 11:30 am
    Umm, I think you forgot a word in the subject line of this article.

    You write:

    “Mets Ticket SVP Fired for Being Single Mother”.

    Uh, no. She has ALLEGEDLY been fired for being a single mother. That is her contention and while it may be true it also be proven completely false.

    So the correct title should be:

    “Mets Ticket SVP Allegedly Fired for Being Single Mother”.

    You write this title as if it was a fact that the Mets did this when it is a mere statement of opinion by an interested person who has A LOT to gain if this is proven true.

    • Joe Janish September 11, 2014 at 11:37 am
      Ummm … thanks Bat. I’ll fix it now. You’ve saved me a lawsuit, I’m sure, and it’s appreciated.
  7. Bat September 11, 2014 at 11:44 am
    You’re not sure how the Wilpons will be able to keep the Mets based on this (potentially frivolous) lawsuit?

    The Donald Sterling mess involved race which is the biggest lightning rod other than domestic violence and (not much related to sports) immigration and Obamacare; this lawsuit won’t cause the same furor as the racially-charged Clippers and, to a lesser extent, Hawks matters.

    Further, the Sterling mess involved incontrovertible evidence: Sterlng’s own voice on tape saying stupid racial comments. Same for the Atlanta Hawks owner: smoking gun of emails.

    Let’s see what type of proof this woman has before we attack the Wilpons and write blog spots that say “Mets Ticket SVP Fired for Being Single Mother”. People in big business get sued every day over frivolous, immaterial nonsense and most such lawsuits get shown to be exactly that: nonsense and dismissed by the court in a summary judgment proceeding. Even if there is a triable claim, in this type of instance the claim is usually settled out of court for something like a year or maybe two year’s salary…again, if there is evidence and the Wilpons make a settlement offer.

    Stating in the comments section on the other post entitled “Mets Fire SVP of Ticket Sales” that legal fees and settlement are going to cost “at a minimum” $18 to $20 million dollars, which is what Colon and Murphy will cost in 2015, is a huge exaggeration.

    Nothing has been proven in a court of law: she is merely alleging discrimination, which must be proven or the case will be dismissed (or perhaps settled even if the evidence is light if the Wilpons want to avoid the negative publicity of a court proceeding).

    If discrimination is proven in this case the legal fees plus settlement in a New York case like this will not cost “at a minimum” $18 to $20 million.

  8. Bat September 11, 2014 at 11:47 am
    Good to hear that the title of the article was just an oversight Joe.

    I know it seems like I am shilling for the Wilpons sometimes on this blog, but I am just playing devil’s advocate because I think some of the criticism is unfair.

    I do think – as said a week or so ago – that the Wilpons are among the worst owners in sports but largely get a pass from mainstream media because they don’t do anything controversial like many of the other owners who are cited as among the worst.

    So again I think some of the criticism on this blog is well-deserved but a bit is a little over the top. Let’s see what this woman has in terms of evidence before we convict the Wilpons.

    Thanks for your always good insight on this blog.

    • Joe Janish September 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm
      Maybe my criticism is “over the top” as you suggest, but if so, GOOD. I like to think of MetsToday as the FOXNews of the Mets blogosphere — providing the “fair and balanced” opinion. In other words, often being unfair in order to balance out all the hype and soft-pedaling happening in other outlets.

      It’s really, really sad if discrimination against women is taken less seriously than racial discrimination. But you may be right. I’m not so sure, though. We’re at the very beginning of this situation, and it could quickly get much worse if a woman’s group or a prominent female voice gets involved.

      Good points on the Sterling and the Hawks. However, neither of those situations involved the owner directly affecting another person — it was about them making stupid, ignorant comments. In this case, Wilpon allegedly ACTED upon his non-pc feelings, and in fact may have broken the law by dismissing an employee.

      As for my comparing the legal fees and settlement to the salaries of Murphy and Colon, gee whiz, man (or woman?) — exaggeration is part of my schtick. Being corrected on it takes out the fun.

  9. Bat September 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm
    I actually just read the New York Post article now and in a selfish vein I can only hope all of this is true as it will be seriously damaging to the Wilpons’ future as owners.

    This woman is saying that Jeff Wilpon said all of these things in front of many witnesses so let’s see if these individuals are willing to testify in court or submit written affidavits confirming her account. If they will testify or submit sworn affidavits at her first blush, independent of other facts, I would say her case is strong.

    One thing’s for sure: the last person who will be crying if the Wilpons have to sell this team will be me; I will have a huge party if that day ever materializes because I can’t imagine the next owners could be any worse than Fred, Saul, and Jeff.

  10. argonbunnies September 12, 2014 at 5:38 am
    All of Jeff’s employees are going to testify against him, after watching him fire the last person he didn’t like?

    I wish.

    I assume Jeff surrounds himself with cronies and yes men anyway. When asked to corroborate Castergine’s accounts, I can guarantee you they’ll be giving a lot of “I don’t remember” and “it was said in jest and she knew that cuz she chuckled” etc.

    Without recordings and emails, there’s no way Castergine will be able to prove what happened. Plus the Wilpons will have the very best lawyers on their side. No jury will be convicting Jeff on legal grounds; it’d have to be some impassioned thing. I hope the loudest, angriest feminists out there jump on the Jeff bashing ASAP, organize some protests and CitiField boycotts, etc. I mean, that probably won’t actually sway jurors, but it’d still be great to give the Wilpons a black eye.

    And yes, I know I’m guilty of assuming Jeff’s guilt, but I wouldn’t be doing so if these allegations were a surprise. They aren’t. They seem par for the course. There’s a common thread of pushiness, entitlement, combativeness and backwards thinking running through the Jeff Wilpon story for years now.

    Maybe his punishment can include Tony Bernazard’s Shirtless Sensitivity Training.