Wilpon Family Considering Taking on 20-25% Partner

The Madoff scandal that captivated the entire country has lingered due to a law suit in which trustee, Irving Pickard, is fighting to get the money back to all the people who were lost money in this Ponzi scheme. The New York Times reports that Pickard could be seeking up to a billion dollars from the Wilpon Family for gains they made off the Ponzi scheme.
It was orginally thought the Wilpon family lost a ton of money in this scheme yet it turned out otherwise at the end of the 2009 season.
“When Madoff — a former Wilpon family friend — was arrested in 2008, it was reported that the Mets had lost hundreds of millions of dollars from the multibillion-dollar scam. But in October 2009, Picard claimed in a court filing that the Mets profited almost $48 million, withdrawing about $571 million after an initial investment of $523 million.” -Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com

Due to the ongoing concern and uncertainty of the situation, the Mets released a statement today that they are considering options like bringing on a financial only partner.

“However, 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, we are looking at a number of potential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners. To explore this, we have retained Steve Greenberg, a Managing Director at Allen & Company, as our advisor.“- Fred Wilpon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Mets, and Jeff Wilpon, Chief Operating Officer of the New York Mets

During todays conference call, both Jeff and Fred Wilpon made it clear, no matter what they do, they will still be the principle owners of the Mets, and nothing they do will have any effect on the on field issues facing the New York Mets. Yet he does not limit the options to just giving someone a 20-25% stake in the Mets.

 “I don’t say that we’re not going to take on a partner, but there are other options out there that we’re going to explore. So we’ll take on whatever we think we should do in the best economic interest of the ballclub. So it could be a partner, it could be some other kind of mechanism to recapitalize a little bit.”- Mets COO Jeff Wilpon

So how much money are we dealing with? According to The New York Times,”The lawsuit seeks to recover not only $300 million in what the trustee, Irving H. Picard, calls “fictitious profits” — the difference between what the Wilpon and Katz entities put into Madoff’s investment firm and what they took out over their many years of investing — but also additional millions, according to the two lawyers, who would not be identified because of the secrecy surrounding the case.”

The New York Mets were appraised to be worth $858 million dollars by Forbes magazine in 2010. A source quoted by the New York Times is skeptical the Wilpons will be able to stay as principle owners if they lose the trial.

“I think [Fred Wilpon] has a very serious problem,” the newspaper quoted the source. “If that’s true, he might have to sell the Mets.”

The Wilpons also stressed that the Major League Baseball Commissioners office have not put any pressure on the Wilpons to think of adding a partner. Yet, according to another New York Times source, the Mets have requested a meeting with Commissioner Bud Selig next week to inform him to the full extent of the Madoff situation and how it will affect the New York Mets.

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