Mets Sued by Former Team Executive: Latest Details, Reaction and More

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2014

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Leigh Castergine, the former senior vice president of ticket sales with the New York Mets, has filed a lawsuit against the team in which she claims to have been fired from her position for being pregnant and unmarried. 

According to a report from Selim Algar of the New York PostCastergine's suit alleges that co-owner Jeff Wilpon was degrading toward her in the presence of colleagues:

(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.'

In addition, the suit also alleges that Wilpon "told her that, when she gets a ring, she will make more money and get a bigger bonus," and that "something had changed" after she gave birth because "she was no longer as 'aggressive' as she used to be."

The Mets released a statement to CNN sports in response: “We have received and reviewed the complaint. The claims are without merit. Our organization maintains strong policies against any and all forms of discrimination.”

Castergine also takes shots at the front office in the lawsuit, saying it hasn't built a team that finished over .500 since 2008 and "has made a series of public relations blunders that too frequently led to the franchise being ridiculed in the sports pages."    

The team confirmed Castergine's firing on Aug. 31 in a report from Fred Kerber of the New York Post. In the article was a statement from the Mets about the firing:

Leigh Castergine, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services, is no longer with the organization. Although no replacement has been named yet, we have a talented staff in place to handle all ticket related business while we embark on a national search for this role.

If Castergine's lawsuit is true, the Mets are going to have a much bigger public relations nightmare on their hands than they would just explaining to the critics why the team isn't in contention down the stretch. 

Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal tweeted that if there's no out-of-court settlement, things could get messy once the case goes to trial:

Eric Fisher @EricFisherSBJ

If this Mets lawsuit doesn't get settled/resolved somehow, this looks like kind of case where discovery could get particularly unpleasant

The details in Castergine's lawsuit are certainly unsettling and sure to influence the court of public opinion.

The Mets rank 21st in total attendance and 13th in the National League, according to ESPN.com. But Castergine commented how that would not be a valid reason for the team to dismiss her. She addressed the low ticket sales in her lawsuit, saying that certain fans had compared her job "to selling 'deck chairs on the Titanic' or 'tickets to a funeral.'"

It bears watching how the ownership group decides to handle this situation moving forward.

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