A former senior executive for the Mets was "humiliated" and eventually fired by chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon for having a baby out of wedlock, a new lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal court Wednesday charged.
Leigh Castergine, who earned a six-figure salary as head of Mets Ticket Sales and Service Operations from 2010 to 2014, said in her suit that at one executive meeting she attended, Wilpon brought up her pregnancy during a discussion of e-cigarette ads.
"I am as morally opposed to putting an e-cigarette sign in my ballpark as I am to Leigh having this baby without being married," Wilpon said, according to the lawsuit.
Castergine's lawsuit says Wilpon also made fun of her by pretending to look for an engagement ring on her finger at meetings, and trashed her to colleagues by saying that "people would respect her more if she was married."
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for discrimination on the basis of sex, pregnancy and marital status.
The Mets, in a statement, said the claims were "without merit" and the team had "strong policies against any and all forms of discrimination." A Major League Baseball source said the league was aware of the suit and considered it a team matter.
Castergine described herself as a former University of Pennsylvania soccer player who learned the sports marketing business from the ground up during stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers, the Orlando Magic and the Boston Bruins.
In the suit Castergine lashed out at Wilpon, the son of Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, and the Mets front office for mismanagement of the team and public relations blunders -- comparing her job to selling "deck chairs on the Titanic" or "tickets to a funeral."
Echoing fan complaints, she said the Wilpons "significantly overpriced" tickets after opening Citi Field in 2009, while underpaying for on-field talent.
"The team's front office inflated ticket prices to keep pace with its cross-town rival New York Yankees," the suit said. "Team ownership insisted on the markup despite being aware that higher prices might cause fans to avoid coming to games."
The former exec said she introduced successful ticketing policies and got hefty bonuses until revealing her pregnancy, and complaining to the Mets human resources department about Wilpon's behavior.
The suit alleged Wilpon told her to tell her boyfriend "that when she gets a ring she will make more money and get a bigger bonus."
Castergine gave birth in March and returned to work in June, but was urged by other executives to quit, she alleged.
In August, she said, the Mets raised issues about her job performance but offered a severance package if she would agree to not sue or say negative things about the team and Wilpon.
Castergine was fired Aug. 26, three minutes after her lawyer sent an email to the team claiming that she was being discriminated against, the lawsuit said.
With David Lennon