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The Mets recently received a $40 million loan from Bank of America

Dec 12, 2011, 7:22 PM EDT

Fred Wilpon

UPDATE: Via Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Mets have released the following statement:

“The bridge loan was approved by Major League Baseball and the syndicate of lenders to the Mets. The process for the sale of minority shares in the team continues to go very well.”

7:22 PM: Just in case the Mets’ offseason approach didn’t make it obvious enough already, the team’s owners remain hard up for cash.

According to Michael S. Schmidt and Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, the Wilpons and Saul Katz received a $40 million loan from Bank of America in the past six weeks. It’s being described as a “bridge loan” as they attempt to raise money through the sale of minority stakes. The Mets received a $25 million loan from MLB earlier this year, but have been unable to repay it.

People familiar with the team’s situation have said the owners had firm commitments from at least seven investors interested in buying a small share of the team for $20 million apiece. Still, until all are sold, none of the investors have had to turn over cash.

Vince Gennaro, a consultant to several major league teams, said that the $40 million loan “says to me that their finances continue to be tight, that there is a cash pinch.”

He added: “The team underperformed, and this tides them over until they get their money. They need cash flow.”

Now, Gennaro said, between the bridge loan and the $25 million owed to baseball, “the first $65 million has to go out the door” should the team sell an adequate number of shares in the team.

Two people with knowledge of the team’s finances told Schmidt and Sandomir that the Wilpons and Katz may have to consider selling the team if a full lineup of minority investors is not in place by next spring, though they have publicly expressed confidence on the matter.

  1. Reflex - Dec 12, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Where is chrisny to tell us this is all part of the plan and the Wilpon’s are just fine?

  2. evanwins - Dec 12, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Had no idea it was THIS bad. I’ll take David Wright for next to nothing and… thats it actually.

  3. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Dec 12, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Why couldn’t they take out a 290 million dollar loan or so for Albert Pujols. Merchandising, TV ratings, ticket sales, all would have shot through the roof relieving this massive debt. These Wilpons aren’t very smart are they?

    • mojosmagic - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      Who is stupid enough to give Wilpon 290 million? MLB is backing the smaller loans and that shouldn’t be.

  4. paperlions - Dec 12, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Doesn’t it seem that if sales of $20M minority vanity shares of the Mets were going well…that they all would have been sold already?

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 12, 2011 at 8:33 PM

      “vanity shares” – I like that – I was figuring who would invest 20 mil in such a proposition and your phrase captured the reason perfectly.

      • mojosmagic - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        Who wouldn’t want to pay 20 million for a couple of good seat and a plastic VIP pass?

  5. spudchukar - Dec 12, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    So I slide on down to my local BoA, and ask for a cool mil. I am in hugely in debt, my business is floundering, but I reassure the loan officer that I got a bunch of friends who are gonna give me some cash soon, but cannot do it right away, but don’t worry they are good for it. And the loan officer says what? Sure you don’t need more than a mil?

  6. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 12, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Maybe because it’s the era of the REALLY BIG swindle but I found myself wondering, “40 million? They can’t come up with a measly 40 million?”

  7. dondada10 - Dec 12, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    It got me so mad to read that Pujols and Wilson would essentially be covered by the Angels’ new Fox deal. The Mets have their own cable network and a new stadium and yet they are drastically in the red.

    Any why hasn’t Selig forced them to sell? He forced both Texas ownership and Dodger ownership to sell. Why not look out for the well-being of one of the bigger market teams in baseball?

    • henryd3rd - Dec 13, 2011 at 6:54 AM

      Think about your question for a minute and the answer will come to you. Or are you be rhetorical? The Wilpons and the Seligs are friends for years and Buddy Boy is not going to force his friends out until the other owners cry foul.

      • paperlions - Dec 13, 2011 at 7:33 AM

        That is part of it, but there have been so many franchises in dire straights that MLB (Selig) has been dealing with them one at a time as long as the other can keep afloat….so far, Texas has been dealt with, now LA is up, next will probably be Oakland, then the Mets.

  8. jimatkins - Dec 12, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    It kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little, but Frank McCourt evidently has a point about the Wilpons getting preferential treatment- you so right, dondada10-

  9. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 13, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    If wonder if McCourt is interested in a team on the east coast now that his fling on the west coast seems to be over.

    • henryd3rd - Dec 13, 2011 at 6:56 AM

      McCourt may have trouble buying a ticket to t ball game if the Feds have their way with him. There is that little issue of tax evasion that he and his wife are facing?

      • paperlions - Dec 13, 2011 at 7:35 AM

        Considering that everything they did is legal….I’m not sure how the feds can go after them for following the rules. As has been noted before, real scandal doesn’t involve what is illegal, but what is legal.

  10. sdelmonte - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    It is hard not to wonder how, even with a weaker team, the Mets aren’t making money just by owning a cable station.

    Which makes me think it’s not the Mets or SNY. It’s the overall Sterling Enterprises portfolio.

    Problem is, who has the money to buy the Mets and not be in the same boat? I suspect a lot of real estate and Wall Street types in NYC would have to gone into similar sorts of debt to buy all the Mets’ assets.

    • henryd3rd - Dec 13, 2011 at 6:57 AM

      The Mets put an inferior product on the field; hence the Mets’ faithful rather spend their entertainment dollars else where

    • paperlions - Dec 13, 2011 at 7:37 AM

      The Mets are making a boat load of money….the problem is that the McCourts didn’t have much non-Madoff money prior to their loans….and they took out loans just to invest them with Madoff….so they are very heavily leveraged, they have bought everything on credit….everything.

      • mojosmagic - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        You have access to the Mets books?

      • paperlions - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:44 AM

        There is a law suit going on….a lot of that stuff is public information, if you bothered to read it.

        The Wilpons bought the Mets almost totally on credit, they built a stadium on credit, they built a RSN on credit with investing partners. They make a lot of money from the RSN, but not the Mets…..and don’t make enough to cover all of their debts.

    • Jonny 5 - Dec 13, 2011 at 8:38 AM

      The biggest problem I feel Mr. DelMonte is that the Wilpons were using the Madoff fund as their bank basically, and funneled all of their proceeds through Madoff. Everything from ticket sales, to 401K, to Bobby B’s differed money. Then the economy tanked and their real estate, which was bought with borrowed money, wasn’t selling as expected. Those promissory notes still had to be paid and Madoff was promising profits on held money. So why not give him more? It made them more profit in the past…. Then Madoff was shown to be a fraud and the Wilpons are left holding an empty bag and owe tons of money to a whole bunch of people. Even down to Bobby B., and other employees 401Kplans, let alone team held debts.

  11. mojosmagic - Dec 13, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    .
    Selig forced the sale of the Dodgers because of financial concerns but turns a blind eye to the Mets because of his relationship with the Wilpon’s who made a lot of money from their shady dealings with Mr. Madoff. Before people say the Wilpon’s were victims ask the question what were these guys thinking? The Wilpon’s received a 20% return on their money in a stock portfolio for 20 years. Even a simpleton would know that can’t be right yet two astute businessmen never thought to question Madoff? Well the Trustee wants back those ill gotten gains and more and Met fans suffer.Selig needs to force a sale of the Mets sooner rather then latter.

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