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Wilpon says he's not selling the Mets

Aug 29, 2009, 10:51 AM EDT

Fred Wilpon is denying the reports that circled yesterday that he’s being forced to sell the Mets on account of all of his losses to Bernie Madoff:

Erin Arvedlund, who penned “Too Good to Be True,” pegged the Wilpons’ losses to Madoff at $700million – the same figure Fred Wilpon’s friend Larry King used in a magazine article earlier this year. That loss is too steep
for the Wilpons to be able to retain ownership of the Mets, Arvedlund
concluded . . . The speculation was met by a forceful denial from the Mets Friday.

“The
author of the book has no knowledge or facts related to the Mets
business operations or finances,” Danielle Sessa Parillo, the team’s
director of communications, said in a statement on behalf of the
Wilpons. “Her speculation that the Mets – or any part of the team – is
for sale is completely false and is irresponsible.”

To further counter that, Wilpon and MLB President Bob DuPuy are saying that the Mets are just fine and dandy, financially speaking. In support, they cite “the Mets’ financial reports, which are filed quarterly,” and say that they “have shown no financial distress.”

It’s probably worth noting at this point that (a) Major League Baseball never allows anyone to see such reports; and (b) such reports are routinely used by MLB and the teams to cry poor, forming the basis of calls for salary caps and player concessions and new publicly-funded stadiums and all of that.  So forgive me if I’m not 100% convinced by this line of reasoning.

  1. John Pileggi - Aug 29, 2009 at 8:28 PM

    The Wilpons family seems to have an incredible passion for the Mets. They first were minority partners with the Doubledays and then bought sole control several years back. They financed a large portion of the cost of the new stadium, and have invested in some large contracts. Clearly they love this team and have (with the new SNY Network as another source of revenues) invested in the team.
    But, no one can withstand a huge loss such as the Madoff calamity and not have to make significant adjustments. Whether that leads to a sale, or some belt tightening (resulting in a less star-studded team) remains to be seen.

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