Blog Entry

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

Posted on: May 24, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 3:03 pm

By Evan Brunell

Fred Wilpon is certainly making the rounds in the media lately.

A day after talking to the New Yorker and blasting players Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright, there is news that Wilpon spoke to Sports Illustrated and revealed the Mets are on track to lose up to $70 million, is reporting.

The Mets are "bleeding cash," as Wilpon says, and also notes that he should have a minority owner in place to purchase shares of the club for a price around $200 million, which would give the Mets funds to stay afloat, plus provide a cushion while the Bernie Madoff fallout is sorted out.

Speaking of Madoff, Wilpon admits he would be willing to settle a $1 billion lawsuit against him for an alledged role in Madoff's Ponzi scheme -- an allegation Wilpon steadfastly declines. Trustee Irving Picard is alleging that Wilpon knew that something was amiss with Madoff but did not take action.

A press release from Sports Illustrated reveals more on the matter, with Wilpon saying that Picard's lawsuit is what spurred him to seek a minority owner.

“I think the club became in jeopardy when [Picard] filed [for] this billion dollars. That’s when I decided to sell part of the club and maintain control in our operations and share the partnership with somebody,” Wilpon said.

Wilpon added that he would be willing to discuss reparations of $295 million in fictitious profits, but cannot pay back the $700 million in principal that Picard also wants.

“Governor [Marino] Cuomo has not been able to at this stage convince [Picard] that the 700 is not going to be obtainable,” Wilpon says, referring to the former New York governor who has been appointed as mediator between the two parties to try to facilitate an agreement.

And surprise, surprise but Madoff is also connected to the Bobby Bonilla fiasco. Back in 1999, Wilpon bought Bobby Bonilla out of his $5.9 million owed for the 2000 season, instead deferring his payment to a 25-year plan starting in 2011 in which Bonilla will be paid $1.19 million annually -- a $29.8 million total. Everyone has long wondered just why, and now we know.

“You can fault us for that. The judgment, in retrospect, was not good," Wilpon said.

That judgment was that the Mets planned to invest the saved $5.9 million with Madoff and receive the usual return of 10-12 percent, while Bonilla's deferred payments were based on an interest rate of eight percent. The Mets were hoping that they could make money off of the extra $5.9 million being converted into a profit.

"We trusted a man who turned out not to be trustworthy,” Wilpon added.

And if he had a face-to-face meeting with Madoff, currently in jail where he will remain for the rest of his life?

“If I saw Bernie, would I want to kick him or punch him? No, no. I’ve heard some people say, ‘that son of a bitch, I’d like to kill him,’ " Wilpon said. That’s not how I feel. I’ve tried to temper that because I’ve got to be focused on getting where we need to and putting this behind us.”

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Category: MLB
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:48 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 9:03 am

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

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Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: May 28, 2011 1:23 pm

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

Only ones hurting are the Mets fans, as usual. The Wilpons have run this franchise through the gutter and into the ground since taking managing ownership over the premier organization in NYC, in MLB (and perhaps in all pro sports at that time) in November of 1986. Their endless cycle of ineptitude has brought nothing but false hopes dashed, utter misery and downright shame as a fan.

A quarter century wasted with nothing to look forward to but an upcoming summer firesale, a slashing of team salary going forward, and a "fresh" rebuilding under the stewardship of a guy who last won something decades ago just as the Mets did (in the Frank Cashen era), with a cadre of assistant GMs who failed miserably in their moneyball attempts as the head honchos in Toronto, Cincinnati and Los Angeles. 

Special thanks to the Wilpons' best friend and Mets organization puppetmaster, Bud Selig, for your extraordinary assistance in helping Fred Wilpon:
1) undervalue the team so he could buy out Nelson Doubleday at a blue light special rate,
2) turn the other eye on MLB's responsibility to assure constant ownership finances and liquidity while the Wilpons used Bernie Madoff's fund as their personal ATM to fund the Doubleday buyout, the Brooklyn Cyclones and their ballpark, and Citifield,
3) helping arrange an emergency $350M loan from a collective of banks after the Wilpons' Madoff ATM card expired,
4) personally appointing his own Commissioner's Office assistant, Sandy Alderson, to take over as GM of the Mets this past winter,
5) granting (in secret) a special emergency MLB loan to the Wilpons this winter to assist with their problem meeting monthly obligations, and now... 
6) getting $200M from his other best friends (the Einhorns from Milwaukee) to  once again temporarily stuff a hankerchief into the Mets' gaping wound money problem. 

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: May 25, 2011 9:45 am

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

I have absolutely no sympathy for billionaires or even multi-millionaires, but with the skyrocketing costs of running a major sports franchise, there just doesn't seem to be enough rich guys to go around anymore.  Houston, the Texas Rangers, the Dodgers, the Mets, the revolving door that has been the Florida Marlins' ownership over the life of that franchise...and that's just in MLB.

For years, I've blasted the concept of "small-market teams," stating that instead, we merely have "small pocket owners."  Seems to have bled into the major TV markets as well.  We've got guys with big hats and no cattle trying to use sports teams as investment vehicles, much the same way people speculated in housing markets to turn homes into cash returns.

It seems like the Wilpons only used the Mets in that way, and now that it's no longer a cash cow, they need a white knight or a complete bailout.  No individuals could purchase the Mets; only another limited partnership could afford the team, even in its current, devalued state.

Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: May 25, 2011 9:02 am

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

new york city needs to step up and bail out the mets and pay them enough cash to stop losing money.  It will be good for the local economy---they can just jack up sales taxes or something to pay whatever it takes.
Congratulations are in order 32zone because this has got to be the dumbest comment that I have ever read on this website. Our mayor is about to hand pink slips to 4,100 school teachers and close several fire houses throughout New York City but somehow you think that bailing out a poorly run sports franchise takes precedence over education and public safety. Are you somehow related to the Wilpon family because your statement makes it seem like you have a vested interest in the Wilpons retaining their ownership interest in the Mets?

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: May 25, 2011 8:29 am

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

Minority owner....... please just sell the whole team to someone competent.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:32 pm

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

Sorry, cofused Wilpon with Madoff, LOL.

Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: May 24, 2011 11:31 pm

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

Why would you want be a Met's minority owner when they somehow are still bleeding money under Madoff?  Best to just wait and get the majority ownership to fix the problems Madoff created.  Partnering with Madoff sounds like a horrible idea in a minority situation.  Shame on you Bernie.

Since: Sep 24, 2010
Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:32 pm

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

good for the economy? Really lets raise the taxes again New York and bail out a fool. What makes this country successful is allowing the people or businesses who do not not how to manage their finances to go out of business. It is called capitalism!!!! Someone will buy the team and will eventually run it right look at the pittsburg penguins as one example they were backrupt not so long ago but, now are a great franchise again.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: May 24, 2011 10:12 pm

Wilpon says Mets will lose up to $70 million

Actually, there is some pretty damning evidence coming out that shows that the Wilpons knew for a long time that Madoff's scheme was fraudulent. The best evidence so far was a request by the Wilpons, seeking an insurance policy on their investment account with Madoff, in 2001, in case Madoff's investment strategy turned out to be a 'ponzi' scheme. Yeah, they specifically said ponzi scheme. Sadly, this is the one area I can say that the Wilpons knew what they were doing.

That evidence is circumstancial, at best.  While I have a hard time thinking of Wilpon being this way, perhaps he was being a savvy businessman and covering his tracks.  People insure things all the time, especially when there's a lot of money on the line.  The reason WHY you would get insurance on that is if you think you could get ripped off, not if you believe you're going to make money.  It's like a prenuptial agreement.  I don't consider that evidence to be damning in the slightest.

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