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Will the Wilpons Have to Sell the Mets?

There's plenty of baseball news out there -- what with Brad Penny sitting on the waiver wire, mystery teams placing waiver claims on the likes of Rich Harden and Trevor Hoffman and the Yankees blocking Chris Carter's ability to land with the Mets by claiming him from the Red Sox (he was, of course, immediately pulled back off waivers) -- but buried between the day-to-day is a more startling realization ripped straight from the pages of a baseball luminary: Bernie Madoff.

Ok, so Madoff's no baseball luminary, but he is having an enormous effect on the future of Mets because of his ability to play fast and loose with a vast majority of the wealth of the team's owners, the Wilpon family. According to a new book about Madoff's swindling of a huge rolodex of America's most powerful entitled "Too Good to be True", author Erin Arvedlund claims that the Wilpons lost $700 million, or more, from Madoff business deals gone awry.

So rich are the Wilpons that they could afford to lose $700 million and still hold on to -- and run -- a prominent professional sports franchise, but with property markets also in decline -- the family made its money on property deals -- Arvedlund claims that Fred Wilpon could be forced to put the team up for sale as soon as next season.

The money the Wilpons lost with Madoff was in conjunction with the family's investment arm, Sterling Equities, which also technically owns the Mets. Unfortunately for the Wilpons, there are other investors in the equity firm, and should they force Wilpon to turn profits on their investment, he would almost assuredly be forced to sell off some of the company's assets.

Making up $700 million requires the sale of a heck of a lot of assets ... or one very, very large asset. With the Mets valued at approximately $912 million, it's fair to say that they qualify in the latter category.

"You can quote me," Arvedlund told MarketWatch of a possible sale of the Mets. "It's a matter of when. It could be as soon as next year."

As if the end of the season wasn't already hard enough on Mets fans, now they could be watching their team walk right into an unknown future. Fun times in Queens, huh?

By Cameron Smith  |  August 28, 2009; 1:06 PM ET
Categories:  Mets  | Tags: Mets, Wilpon, owners  
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Next: Moment of Levity: The Big Picture


if the players on the DL didn't take a paycheck it would make a big difference too.

Posted by: adampschroeder | August 28, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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