A book author who has chronicled the Bernie Madoff scandal believes that the New York Mets are going to be sold at some point -- possibly as early as next year -- based on the losses that owner Fred Wilpon incurred through his company, Sterling Equities. Wilpon had known and entrusted Madoff for more than 40 years before he was charged by the SEC in a $65 billion Ponzi scheme last December. Madoff is now serving a 150-year prison sentence for his crimes.
Erin Arvedlund, author of "Too Good to Be True," said to Reuters, "It's qualified by when. It's possible they would have to sell by next year."
Losses to Wilpon through Sterling Equities were originally believed to be $300 million. Since then, several reports place the losses far higher – at $700 million.
When asked in December whether the losses would impact the Mets, Wilpon publically said, "Not at all."
Those in the Commissioner’s Office echoed much the same at the time.
“Any fraud that has been committed against Fred is something of deep distress to all of us and we feel very badly about the entire matter, but we all believe that this will not affect the team,” Bob DuPuy MLB’s President and COO said in a telephone interview to The New York Times.
A Mets spokeswoman, reached by MarketWatch, refute the author’s claims. In an email she states:
"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."
In Forbes most recent valuations of the 30 clubs in Major League Baseball, the Mets were valued at $912 million, behind only the New York Yankees at $1.5 billion.
The Mets play in baseball’s largest market, and opened their new $800 million stadium this year. As part of the new stadium opening, the Mets agreed to the most lucrative naming rights deal in US sports history with Citigroup that sees the club receiving $20 million annually over 20 years, or $400 million.
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