Oct 21, 2009, 10:25 AM EST
If you believe financial experts like Larry King, Mets owner Fred Wilpon and family lost as much as $700 million investing with former friend and current inmate Bernie Madoff. That, however, may be a slight exaggeration:
A partnership connected to the baseball team — which had widely been rumored to have lost money investing with Bernard Madoff — actually gained a net $48 million from its dealings with the convicted swindler, according to a bankruptcy-court filing.
The filing, by the court-appointed trustee handling claims for Madoff victims, is the first documentation of how deeply invested Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon was with Mr. Madoff, a longtime friend.
The filing showed that the Mets Limited Partnership, which is connected with Sterling Equities Inc., owner of the Mets, deposited about $523 million into two accounts with Mr. Madoff — and withdrew about $571 million.
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Wilpons made money. Yes, it’s a net increase in the money in play, but (a) the Wilpons may have had his money with Madoff for many, many years; and (b) they may have believed, via Madoff’s fraud, that they were up way, way above that. So in financial terms the Wilpons could have suffered a huge loss in terms of forgone, legitimate gains, and they may have been making financial decisions based on a radically different position than the one in which they actually found themselves to be once the fraud was discovered. That’s not a $700 million loss, but it’s certainly not great either.
Sadly for Mets fans, however, the team’s competitive position remains just as dire as previously believed.
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