But in the present economy will someone offered Wilpon more than $2.6 billion for the business?
It is inevitable that one day one of Bernie Madoff’s business associates, Fred Wilpon, will no longer own the New York Mets. Wilpon’s deal to sell his baseball team to Steven Cohen fell through in February. Another attempt to sell the business in 2011 to David Einhorn collapsed. Major League Baseball has always had a soft spot for Fred Wilpon. MLB could have dumped him after he was ordered to pay restitution to Madoff’s victims. Fred Wilpon somehow was involved in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But MLB continued to live with Wilpon. In fact, Wilpon was selected to head up MLB’s financial committee after the news that Wilpon somehow was involved with Bernie Madoff.
Wilpon has been around MLB since 1980. Wilpon is either influential in MLB’s inner circle or does a good job of carrying out policy. Take the Mets spring training home for example. Wilpon got the 32-year-old Port St. Lucie stadium rebuilt with most of $57 million needed for the upgrade coming from taxpayers. St. Lucie County borrowed $60 million for the renovations and to pay off $5 million in old debt on the stadium. The county received $20 million from Florida to help pay for the project. St. Lucie County is using revenue from a bed tax to pay off the loan. That is the kind of deal that the Lords of Baseball love. Using other people’s money to build a plant to house their business. Wilpon also instituted a policy which shows the contempt baseball owners have for their minor league players. Wilpon not only separates well-heeled customers from fans in the ballpark by price but also minor league players from major leaguers in the clubhouse. The Class A Florida State League’s St. Lucie Mets players cannot use the clubhouse during the season. They are unworthy seasonal workers.