Today, Fred Wilpon and his firm settled with Irving Picard, a trustee collecting money lost in the Bernie Madoff scandal, for a sum of $162 million. A week or so ago, Judge Rankoff, the judge put in charge of the case, which was due to go to trial today, announced that the Wilpons will repay at least the profit they made off the scandal, which adds up to $83 million.
The Wilpon/Katz group will be due to pay their money in about three years. But here’s the catch: in the settlement, it was agreed upon that the Wilpons can file a claim for over $179 million. They could actually make money off of this trial!
To me, this news is good, but not great. Of course, there really was no great news that was going to come out of this trial other than: “it’s over. Everyone go home.” That didn’t happen.
Tonight the Mets finalized deals to sell 12 4% shares in the Mets for roughly $20 million each, which adds up to $240 million. It was also reported today that the Mets repaid their loans to Bank of America and Major League Baseball, which added up to $65 million. With that out of the way there is only one obstacle still standing in the way: attendance.
It was well documented that the Mets lost $70 million as a team last year. If this trend continues, we will be right back where we started from a year or two from now. In order for this ruling to be good for the Wilpons and the Mets, they need to make the team competitive fast and bring people out to the ballpark. If not, there is going to be even more trouble down the road.
For now, though, the Mets will benefit from this ruling. The Wilpons won’t have to sell the team, and they can try to return to some sense of normalcy, which they haven’t had for quite a while. They may be cash-strapped for a little while, but at least now, they won’t have massive amounts of debt looming over their heads.
Now the Wilpons can turn their focus back from winning court cases to winning baseball games. Let’s go Mets!