Jeff Wilpon accused of discrimination, wrongful termination


In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court, former Mets vice president for ticket sales and services Leigh Castergine alleges that she was fired for having a baby out of wedlock.

Castergine is suing Jeff Wilpon personally, and is also seeking additional damages from the team.

The suit alleges that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon was opposed to Castergine being pregnant and single, quoting Wilpon as saying that when Castergine gets a ring, she will make more money and get a bigger bonus.

According to the suit, Wilpon “frequently humiliated Castergine in front of others by, among other things, pretending to see if she had an engagement ring on her finger and openly stating in a meeting of the Team’s all-male senior executives that he is ‘morally opposed’ to Castergine ‘having this baby without being married.”

After Castergine gave birth, Wilpon said that “something had changed” in her, “with still no ring on her finger” and noted that she wasn’t as “aggressive” as she used to be.

In addition to the accusations against Wilpon, the suit is also critical of of the Mets’ front office, notes the frequent missteps by the public relations department, and touches on the fact that some fans have become disenchanted with the franchise.

Castergine, a graduate of Penn, worked for the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic, and Boston Bruins prior to joining the Mets.

The full lawsuit can be viewed here.

Thoughts from Danny Abriano:

If the allegations against Jeff Wilpon are true, he will have exposed himself as an archaic, slimy person who has no business representing this franchise privately or publicly.

In the lawsuit, current Mets executive Lou DiPaoli is noted to have acknowledged some of Wilpon’s alleged discriminatory statements to Castergine, giving an already strong suit even more credence.

In addition to the overall disgust at the accusations against Jeff Wilpon, I feel terribly for Leigh, who was a pleasure to deal with and is a genuine person.

This situation is analogous to what went on with former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, only racism is being replaced with sexism. Whether the suit is settled out of court or decided in court, if what Wilpon is alleged to have said is corroborated, he should no longer be able to have any connection to the Mets.

Judging by the reaction from Mets fans and others who have heard the news, this will -rightfully – not be going away.

It’s incumbent on those who cover this team for a living to dig for the truth, and it’s important for those who root for this team to call for Wilpon’s removal if the allegations are substantiated.

Thoughts from Sam Maxwell:

I really, REALLY try, or at least have the desire to as I get older, not judge folks I don’t know or at least haven’t met in person. It’s a tough thing to NOT do. It’s human nature, and rampant in this digital age, to make quick assessments of the kind of person someone is that we just read, watched and heard about. We’re humans. We’re judgmental.

No matter how much I hope this out of myself as I creep closer to 30, everything presented to us about Jeff Wilpon over the years just makes him scream “Weasel.” Maybe that’s the narrative, or maybe there’s a reason that narrative has been reported.

It is unfortunate that i have no skepticism he said what is claimed. Unfortunately, I can easily visualize him sitting in these meetings, laughing about her out-of-wedlock pregnancy like it was an ol’ boys club meeting in 1924. 

I have a friend who used to work for the Mets, and was let go at the relative beginning of the 2013 season. Though he may have been bitter, he stressed how much his fandom will never let his anger at the ones who let him go spill over into his rooting interests. He loves the Mets, as we all do. He said that they got everybody together for a meeting to tell the staff that unlike claims, there will not be cuts, and that in fact, everyone would be getting raises. A month or so later, they cut 10% of staff, or something along that line. I asked him, “Is this mess really from the top down?” He just said to me matter-of-factly, “Yeah, man. It is.”

Nothing yet indicates this is a properly run ship, and the man at the helm of this lawsuit is the franchise’s white-collar captain. We need an Orange-and-Blue-collared captain running this ship.