Saturday, January 29, 2011

Free at last?

Well, well, well. It appears our boys the Wilpons haven't been entirely honest about their dealings with Bernie Madoff. In response to being sued by those trying to claw back profits from Madoff's imploded operation, Fred Wilpon is offering up a minority stake, probably 20% - 25%, in the New York Mets.

That pic is owned, or something, by AP. Please don't hurt me.

The whisper number on the amount sought by the lawyers is...pinky to mouth...$1 Billion. As it goes, all profits from a scheme such as Madoff was orchestrating are deemed illegitimate, regardless of whether the person profiting knew about the scheme, and can be clawed back. That, as it turns out, is even better than if Madoff had beaten Wilpon for half a billion. In that scenario, Wilpon would already be bottomed out and could possibly be looking forward to recovery.

So, how much of Wilpon's stash is at stake? The story goes that Wilpon had money with Madoff for at least 25 years. Madoff was dumping close to 2% yield into these accounts every month. That shit adds up, so it's not unreasonable to believe that the Wilpons could have cashed out several hundred millions of dollars. Given that Madoff professed to being a life-long Mets fan, it is not unreasonable to speculate that, Madoff craved access to the team/ownership, Wilpon's rate of return was just a bit sweeter than everybody else's and, even if not, he probably got to cash out easier than everybody else.

Regardless, this means that Wilpon, like it wasn't blatantly obvious, was less than honest about what effect his dealings with Madoff have had on the Mets. He bullshitted y'all so he could get y'all to buy overpriced tickets to pay for his new ballpark. Bokolis wasn't having any of that shit; I've never been inside the new place and didn't pay more than $5 for a ticket at the dump in the final six years of its existence. I'd taken comped tickets to the Dump in that time frame, but won't even do that to go to this ad-infested bomb shelter. This, from a guy who gets to 3-4 major league parks and as many minor league parks each year.

As Bokolis chronicled, Wilpon first bought into the team in 1980. He acquired enough to put his dirty mitts on the team in early 1986, first applied said dirty mitts after the 1986 season (notice that the Mets haven't won since), and bought out Doubleday in 2002, assuming full control. He promptly installed his boy, Jeff Wilpon, to run the club...shit has been mostly disastrous ever since. Urban legend has it that Doubleday said that Jeff Wilpon would turn out to be a colossal fucking embarrassment. Perhaps that is why he sold- to wash his hands.

This Madoff caper lingers while, Wilpon, being in the commercial real estate business, has seen that portion of his wealth take a haircut. So, in may come a "strategic partner." Yeah, right. "Strategic" would be if they actually brought in someone who knew WTF they were doing. This is pure fucking panic. You'd have to think that the Wilpons are looking to score a quarter billion. What kind of jagoff would give these two bananas a quarter billion, only to let them continue to run the team further into the ground? Surely, a quarter billion would at least buy a thunderous slap of Jeff.

Bokolis is speculating that the Wilpons are still sandbagging, and that shit is even worse than they are letting on. I think things will continue to spiral downward on them, eventually forcing them to sell their entire interest in the team. A forced sale to pay creditors isn't necessary, as I don't really give a shit about their personal and financial ruin; I just want them out. That day may very well be fast approaching. It's a shame that so many baseball summers had to be soured in the process.

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