For a franchise in need of good public relations and a winning team, this report if true will further deepen the divide between the team’s Ownwership and it’s team’s fan base. The fans who have been calling for ownership to sell the team, after this report will turn up the pressure for new ownership of the team. The following report bY John Marzulli of the New York Daily News, again if true, is both sad and appalling.
Here is his report…
Leigh Castergine, the first woman to hold the title of senior vice president for ticket sales for the Mets, claims she was ‘humiliated’ and ‘disparaged’ by Wilpon for becoming pregnant without being married. She also alleged that unnamed people she worked with compared her job to selling ‘tickets to a funeral.’
BY John Marzulli /
A woman who was once a top executive in the Mets front office has filed a blockbuster lawsuit accusing team co-owner Jeff Wilpon of discriminating against her because she was pregnant without being married.
Leigh Castergine, who was the first woman to hold the title of senior vice president for ticket sales for the team, says she was rewarded with more than $200,000 in raises and bonuses, but her career went belly-up when she became preggers last year, according to the suit filed Wednesday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
“From the time Castergine announced her pregnancy in September 2013 . . . Wilpon began to humiliate Castergine and disparage her in front of colleagues,” the suit alleges.
Wilpon told an unnamed colleague of the plaintiff that he is “old-fashioned and thinks (Castergine) should be married before having a baby,” the suit states.
Last December, Wilpon allegedly made a crack to Castergine, who was hired in 2010, that she should tell her boyfriend that when she gets an engagement ring, she would make more money, the suit says.
Then, during a discussion about whether the team should accept ads for electronic cigarettes, the Mets scion said he was as opposed to e-cigarette ads in Citi Field “as I am to Leigh having this baby without being married,” according to the suit.
Castergine, 33, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, was successful despite missteps by the hapless front office, which she lists in the suit.
She says some people compared her job to selling “tickets to a funeral” and that the ducats were overpriced. She came up with new ticket selling strategies and received $50,000 raises in 2012 and 2013 and a $125,000 bonus for increasing sales over $84 million in 2013.
Castergine, of Manhattan, blasts the team for trading away or failing to re-sign its top players, overpricing tickets and team chairman Fred Wilpon insulting stars Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran in an infamous 2011 New Yorker article.
The suit likened the challenge she faced hawking tickets to selling “deck chairs on the Titanic or tickets to a funeral,” the suit snipes.
Lawyer Ann Vladeck even included a footnote referring to the team’s payroll dropping by nearly $60 million since 2009 referring to the team’s public denials of financial difficulties.
When she complained to the team’s human resources chief, she was advised to quit.
Castergine was fired last month and refused a severance package that was conditional on her agreeing not to pursue legal action against the Mets or Jeff Wilpon.
Her dismissal, according to Wilpon, was for failing to meet sales goals and that she was no longer “as aggressive” as before, the suit contends.
A source said Castergine was promoted in December, when the Mets knew she was pregnant. But the suit says Mets officials said she would be promoted, effective in December, before she revealed she was pregnant.
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages and names the Mets and Wilpon as defendants.
Wilpon may not be thrilled that the civil case has been assigned to Federal Judge William Kuntz — an avowed Yankees fan whose son Will was a top scout for the Bronx Bombers.
The Mets said the “claims are without merit.”
“Our organization maintains strong policies against any and all forms of discrimination.”