Team for sale. Inquire within.
One day soon one of Bernie Madoff’s business associates, Fred Wilpon, will no longer own the New York Mets. Wilpon now has a number of groups that want to buy the team and Wilpon may not be able to fetch an outrageous price for the team and assorted team businesses because of the global economic downturn since COVID-19 became a pandemic. Wilpon’s deal to sell his baseball team to Steven Cohen fell through in February. Cohen is one of three bidders for the franchise, the others include a group fronted by Alex Rodriguez and the owners of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils. 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 was somehow 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 a $5 million 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.