Blog Entry

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

Posted on: January 28, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 5:57 pm

Wilpons The owners of the Mets, Fred (on the right in the photo) and Jeff (left) Wilpon, issued a statement Friday announcing that they are seeking to sell a minority share of the team.

In the statement, the Wilpons acknowledge they are part of a lawsuit brought against them by the trustee of the Bernie Madoff bankruptcy. The Wilpons had a significant amount of money invested with Madoff, and despite claims that they would be able to run the baseball team with no impact from the Madoff swindling, the evidence over the last few years has mounted that the Wilpons did, in fact, get too much of their savings wiped out. While most of their payroll is taken up by aging and/or broken-down players, the fact remains that New York has added just $7 million in payroll this offseason.

The Wilpons are considering allowing others to buy a minority stake in the Mets "to address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit, and to provide additional assurance that the New York Mets will continue to have the necessary resources to fully compete and win."

The Wilpons made it clear that they will remain the majority partners, but that could just as easily mean a 51 percent share. However unlikely, if someone bought in for 49 percent, it would bring in what appears to be a very needed infusion of cash.

And yet, it is going to be very difficult for the Wilpons to convince an investor to fork over millions -- if not hundreds of millions -- of dollars for a share and not get any interest at all. It would be far easier for the Wilpons to sell the Mets outright, or sell the majority of the team. In fact, most compelling offers will likely attempt to buy a majority of the club.

And there will be no shortage of interested investors, given the Mets' presence in New York City.

UPDATE: Tyler Kepner of the New York Times reports that Fred Wilpon plans to sell 20-25 percent of the team.

-- Evan Brunell

UPDATE: A source tells the Times (registration required) the lawsuit is seeking as much as a billion (yes, with a B) dollars from the Wilpons, citing their conduct in the Madoff scheme and the fact that they are considered "net winners" in the deal. I don't have access to their bank statements, but I've got to think that could force them to sell the Mets entirely.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB

Since: Sep 26, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2011 8:56 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

You can only imagine how empty Citi Field will be this year..  If the Mets don't resign Jose Reyes, they could move their games to Brooklyn.  They won't need but a couple thousand seats.

Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: January 29, 2011 7:06 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

This is a stupid and frivolous lawsuit. So basically the Mets profit off of Madoff and because of that some loser who lost out wants to sue them for making a profit?
The way I understand it is the reason there was such a profit off of the investment with Madoff was that the alleged profits paid out to investors were not necessarily interest, it was mostly/all other investors money.

So the lawsuit is not necessarily frivilous if the bankruptcy trustee for Madoff is just following the money trail. You may hear articles say that the trustee is clawing back money that Madoff disbursed.  The lawsuit may have seemed frivilous back when we did not have as much info on what actually took place. What may be frivilous is that they are suing wilpon for other damages.

The people that were ripped off or the ones that you are calling losers, are putting in claims against Madoff and his bankruptcy estate. They have a right to do so. He took money from them illegally under the guise of investment accounts that never were, and doctored false statements and records. He redistributed that money to people who took money out of his alleged investment plan. Like the $50 mill that the Wilpons received. The Wilpons had invested employee retirement and 401 k plans that were under their control with Madoff.  The trustee is suing Sterling equities on behalf of the employees whose money was invested poorly by Wilpon & Sterling equities who was a link between Madoff and the people below them in the pyramid.

A real simple way of explaining a ponzi scheme for those who may be unclear is in the credits to the movie the Other Guys. IThey have some very interesting statistics there.

Since: Feb 26, 2010
Posted on: January 29, 2011 4:29 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

If the Wilpons have to repay investment profit...why shouldn't players pay back salaries if they do not perform to expectations? Here is my suggestion to how the Mets should be allowed to pay back the roughly $50MM:

$12MM - All of Oliver Perez' salary.  he went 0-5 in 2010 with a 6.80 ERA.  That might be a larger scheme than wins...6.80 ERA?

$11.7MM - Carlos Beltran only played in 64 games (40% of 162 game schedule).  He should pay back 60% of his $19.4MM salary.

$10MM - Half of Johan Santana's $20MM salary because he won't play the first half of the season (at least).  No play, no pay.

$6MM - Most of Luis Castillo's $6.25MM salary.  He did play in 85 games, but 58 H, 25 K, .235 BA - $0.25MM is a GIFT!!

$3.5MM - Jason Bay played in 95 games (60%).  He should pay back 40% of his $8.6MM salary.

$3.3MM - All of John Maine's salary.  He did win 1 maybe he just pays back $3.0MM.

$2.5MM - FRod took all of September off, make him pay back $2.5MM of his $12.2MM salary for his "personal time off".

That'll give you $49MM...I'm sure the Wilpon's can find the other $1.0MM.  They have plenty of underperforming players...

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2011 1:33 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

no it doesn't!,the Wilpons are only responsible for other losses if it can be proved that they knew Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2011 1:17 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

This is a stupid and frivolous lawsuit. So basically the Mets profit off of Madoff and because of that some loser who lost out wants to sue them for making a profit? That is ridiculous. They should be suing Madoff not the Wilpons. Madoff is directly liable for his own actions. The Mets did not cause any injury to those clowns who got ripped off by Madoff, Madoff did that himself.

What a stupid lawsuit.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2011 11:04 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

Wouldn't it be something to find out the building of their new stadium required withdrawing funds invested with Madoff that hastened the collapse of that ponzi scheme?
Does that make the Wilpons responsible for the loss of others?  I guess that might just be for a jury to decide. 

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: January 28, 2011 10:35 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

We don't need to be that hard on the guy.  He did clarify when he got info with update.  his speculations are stated as such.  I wouldn't mind him selling that would be awesome, but 1 Billion is ridiculous and I would believe unjustifiable and to even state such seems rather ridiculous to use a source's most likely misinterpretation or blowing things up to seem important.

Now I don't know the complete story, but everything I have been hearing was amounts around 50 million, but more may have been revealed and nothing would surprise me, especially after some of the things that have come out in the past years from baseball players who are mostly a keep your mouth shut and never speak out about anyone.  Although some steroid user has changed that notion.

I would love to see them sell a majority share and this is a good start that they are willing to sell at all.  Hopefully someone can make an offer that can't refuse and we can get back to being a winning ballclub.

Think J J Putz and if that case alone doesn't scream shade tree, look at many of the broken and continuous DL guys we have had.  They have been sellling us K-Mart items at Macy prices.  And I love every guy we have and will cheer them no matter how bad they do, but is it not a wonder how they were broke so quickly after we got them????  Shade tree covers all your grass, that is why it is a shade tree, keeps the sun out.

Since: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: January 28, 2011 9:44 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

This is yet another example of the incompetence of this website and the pathetic correspondents they have.

My $.02

I agree. This is a poorly researched and written article by CBS.

Here is the way I understand what is going on.

The Wilpons and others are being sued in order to make those who were  injured whole again, or as close to whole as they can be. Sterling Equities can not profit off of an illegal act, even if it is the illegal act of a 3rd party (Madoff). There are many others being sued for billions of dollars including banks, and others that profited through Madoff, and did not give his investment plan the proper scrutiny tha they should have.

Those who were allegedly injured (by Sterling & Madoff) were the employees of Sterling Equities whose 401k money and retirement funds were invested by Wilpon with Madoff. There was something around $16.2 mill in funds invested.

The lawsuit is Goldweber v. Sterling Equities. It seeks to recover losses of the 260 or so employees that had invested in the plan, as well as other remedies since it alleges negligence on the part of Sterling Equities, and its principals. Some of the damages sought could also possibly be speculative based on the fact that the plaintiffs were relying on an investment, and future earnings. If it is seeking punitive damages against the Wilpons & Sterling, they would likely have to be found either to have had an intentional part in the fraud, or guilty of gross negligence of their duties to those whom had invested in their retirement fund. That could be a huge burden to prove for the plaintiffs, and would likely drag on for years, and a number of appeals. That would cost a ton of money in legal fees for both sides. In my opnion, the bankruptcy trustee would likely settle and liquidate the settlement to the plaintiffs, who have claims against Madoff's estate, but are suing Sterling since it profited from the acts of Madoff.

Like Starblazer said, Wilpon's best options may be to settle on the alleged damages and move on.

This does not mean that Fred Wilpon is a criminal, he has however done a poor job in attempting to mitigate the losses of his employees/former employees, as well as investing their money in the first place.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 7:23 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

I'd love to see Mets fans like Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Kevin James and James Blake invest in the team. They have the funds and are true fans through thick-and-thin.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: January 28, 2011 7:21 pm

Mets owners seeking to sell share of team

They made 48 million off of Madoff and that's part of why they're being sued. This is yet another example of the incompetence of this website and the pathetic correspondents they have.

They also said 20-25%, not 49%. This "report" is disgraceful and David Andriesen should be reprimanded for not having his facts straight.

The money they plan on receiving (300 million +) will be used to "settle" the claims . Incredibly, this "reporter" didn't mention any of that. Simply pathetic.

Get your facts straight. If not, don't report anything at all.

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