Month: January 2011

Wilpons: Ponzi scheme escape artists

Like always when you start to dig around the Mets, things start to stink. An interesting article in the New York Times today outlines that the Madoff Ponzi Scheme may not have been the first illegal investing scheme that the Wilpons escaped with a profit. Their survival of the previous scheme was so concerning that they settled out of court with the victims of the Samuel Israel III Bayou ponzi scheme. But for the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, it is not the first time they have had their names and personal fortunes roughed up in a Ponzi scheme. An investment firm started by the two men had to pay back nearly $13 million two years ago when a hedge fund run by the scion of a wealthy New Orleans family collapsed in what was then regarded as one of Wall Street’s more brazen frauds. It seems the common thread in the two scandals is the fact that it’s felt the Wilpons at the least should have known something wasn’t right. It sure seems that they did considering they were able to withdraw their money just in time before the funds collapsed. According to two lawyers involved in the case against the Mets, the trustee, Irving H. Picard, argued in a lawsuit filed in December that the history of Wilpon and Katz’s dealings with Madoff meant they knew...

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The Madoff Money Trail

I am not trying to pretend I understand what the hell went on between the Wilpons and the Maddoffs, or between Bernie and anyone for that matter. Just that since the announcement that the Wilpons are selling a portion of the team there has been a lot of confusion as to how the Wilpons lost money and more precisely how much. There are tons of different reports out there even before all this “limited partner” stuff came about today. I will simply work with the most popular figures as an attempt to demonstrate the most likely scenario. Again I have no idea how accurate any of this is, and in fact I assume it’s all wrong. This is just how I understand it as happening. Feel free to correct me via the comments. Most sources have said the Wilpons initial investment was about $523 million dollars. This most likely wasn’t invested all at once and was probably added in year by year as they kept seeing unreal (literally) results. A lot of reports keep siting as well that the Wilpons “profited about $48 million dollars” and that they “didn’t lose any money in the Madoff scandal” I guess technically this can be called true but you have to dig a little deeper to see just how deep the Wilpons most likely got cut. Again I am using these figures...

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Reaction: Wilpons selling share of Mets

The Mets just released a Press Release stating that they are exploring the idea of taking on a “strategic partner.” Of course people are going nuts over this either elated thinking the Wilpons will soon be gone, or crushed thinking the sky is falling and the Mets will start cutting payroll. My initial reaction to this is that this can’t be good. An ownership group that has many times stated that the Mets are the status icon for the Wilpons family can not be happy about selling any piece of it. It tells me two things for certain: – The Wilpons are hurting. They took a bigger hit through the Maddoff fiasco and are now bracing for more in the suite by the trustee of the Maddoff victims. – The Mets aren’t making enough money. No surprise when you consider the new stadium and all it’s financing plus the horrible stink around the Mets on the field and in the empty seats. This could end up being good for the Mets franchise. It could bring in some deep pockets, but not only that, it will give the Wilpons someone to answer to. No longer could it be run as a family toy. The worst case is that this drags out for a long time, ad because of their insistence on only a “limited partner” they don’t find good offers....

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BA: Mets Prospect Rankings

Adam Rubin over at ESPN-NY posted a list published in Baseball America. No real big surprises, it falls out about how I would have expected it. Always interesting to see where F-Mart winds up on these lists. Such a shame the kid is made of glass. Keep in mind obviously that Ike Davis and Josh Thole aren’t on this list, now playing everyday at first and behind the plate respectively. 1-Jenrry Mejia, RHP 2-Wilmer Flores, SS 3-Cesar Puello, OF 4-Matt Harvey, RHP 5-Kirk Nieuwenhuis, OF 6-Reese Havens, 2B 7-Lucas Duda, OF/1B 8-Fernando Martinez, OF 9-Aderlin Rodriguez, 3B 10-Brad Holt, RHP 11-Juan Urbina, LHP 12-Robert Carson, LHP 13-Jeurys Familia, RHP 14-Darrell Ceciliani, OF 15-Cory Vaughn, OF 16-Dillon Gee, RHP 17-Erik Goeddel, RHP 18-Steve Matz, LHP 19-Zach Lutz, 3B 20-Robbie Shields, SS 21-Brad Emaus, 2B/3B 22-Mark Cohoon, LHP 23-Matt den Dekker, OF 24-Armando Rodriguez, RHP 25-Jordany Valdespin, 2B/SS 26-Jefry Marte, 3B 27-Kyle Allen, RHP 28-Manny Alvarez, RHP 29-Blake Forsythe, C 30-Pedro Beato, RHP 31-Jim Fuller,...

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