— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | CitiField | Mets
by Kingman on August 28 at 9:40AM
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From Jon Friedman, MarketWatch.com:

The owner of the New York Mets, will be forced to sell the baseball franchise as soon as 2010 after incurring heavy Bernie Madoff-related investment losses, an author of a book on Madoff says.

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Fred Wilpon, the owner of the New York Mets, will be forced to sell the baseball franchise as soon as 2010 after incurring heavy Bernie Madoff-related investment losses.

So says Erin Arvedlund, author of "Too Good to Be True," a new book from publisher Portfolio that has gotten a big buzz in its first few weeks by detailing the evil deeds of the disgraced New York hedge fund manager. Madoff, who is serving a prison sentence, has become the poster child for Wall Street's excessive corruption, greed and all-around sleaziness.

"You can quote me," Arvedlund said of a possible sale of the Mets. "It's a matter of when. It could be as soon as next year."

Arvedlund estimates the Wilpon family may have lost as much as $700 million on Madoff-related investments that went awry. Mets management has been criticized for failing to acquire such stars as Manny Ramirez -- and many fans suspected that the team couldn't afford to obtain such high-priced players.

"As I understood it, they knew each other from way back when," Arvedlund told me. "Wilpon was one of the big real-estate magnates who was a Madoff investor."

A Mets spokeswoman said on Thursday by e-mail: "The numbers speculated continue to be inaccurate. We refute what has been reported. As we have said on numerous occasions, losses incurred by the Sterling Partners do not and will not affect the day-to-day operations and long-term plans of the Mets organization. The team is not for sale in any respect." Wilpon's Sterling company controls the Mets franchise.

Still, the media have speculated about Wilpon's prospects.

The New York Times (NYT, US) has written: "Perhaps most troubling is the possibility that losses incurred by Sterling Equities could put pressure on Wilpon to raise money by selling other assets. Because Sterling invested money directly with Madoff, Wilpon may have to come up with money to reimburse some of his own investors for losses. That may cause him to sell valuable assets, including a portion of his ownership in the Mets."

In April, Forbes pegged the Mets to have a value of $912 million. The Mets ranked as the second-most valuable baseball franchise, trailing only the New York Yankees. See Forbes story. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/33/baseball-values-09_New-York-Mets_334564.html

[August 28, 2009 9:48 AM]  |  link  |  reply
greek bumble bee said

From her mouth to Gods ears. The Mets will never get better as long as Wilpon owns the team. Just dont sell to Dolan and Cablevision and we will be alright.

[August 28, 2009 10:33 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

amen. i had heard this back in the winter or beginning of the season, and this talk was put to bed. i wonder what brought it back to life again.

[August 31, 2009 9:48 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

I can't envision a scenario when Wilpon will ever sell the Mets. The Mets are making money hand over fist, while I'm sure the rest of Sterling Equities is feeling the recession. Not a shock.

The Madoff money will be refilled from the Mets coffers.

The real question is how will this affect the spending on the Mets? Worst case, I see the Wilpons selling part of SNY.We're stuck with the "Fred & Jeff Show".

[September 12, 2009 3:20 AM]  |  link  |  reply
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