Friday, January 28, 2011

Mets Ownership Looking At Partial Sale To Cover Potential Madoff Lawsuits

This is huge news for Mets fans. The Wilpon family, which owns the New York Mets, is pursuing the potential sale of a portion of the team:
The New York Mets are exploring a partial sale of the team as they face a lawsuit from a trustee trying to reclaim money for victims of the Bernard Madoff swindle.

Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard has said the Mets made nearly $48 million in Madoff's scheme. He said the Mets originally invested about $523 million, but eventually withdrew about $571 million from the accounts.

The Mets' owners, Fred Wilpon and son Jeff, say they are looking into the sale to "address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit." They also want to provide assurance that the team will continue to have the "necessary resources to fully compete and win."
The team has been limited in its ability to sign free agents and there have been murmurings that the team's finances have been hit hard by the Madoff Ponzi scheme. This would appear to be tangible proof that the scandal is directly affecting the team's operation.

However, I don't expect a partial sale to reduce the Wilpon family role in team business. They'll probably retain a majority stake in the team and day-to-day operations.

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