Could this be the first domino we have all been waiting for to fall? According to Peter Botte of the Daily News, the Wilpons, despised by so much of the Mets loyal fan base, are considering selling a minority stake in the team due to the ongoing impact of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme scandal.
The Mets have scheduled a conference call in about an hour which I will be fortunate enough to take in live. In the meantime, here is the entire body of a statement the team released a short while ago.
“As Sterling Equities announced in December, we are engaged in discussions to settle a lawsuit brought against us and other Sterling partners and members of our families by the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy. We are not permitted to comment on these confidential negotiations while they are ongoing. However, to address the air of uncertainty created by this lawsuit, and to provide additional assurance that the New York Mets will continue to have the necessary resources to fully compete and win, we are looking at a number of potential options including the addition of one or more strategic partners. To explore this, we have retained Steve Greenberg, a Managing Director at Allen & Company, as our advisor.
Regardless of the outcome of this exploration, Sterling will remain the principal ownership group of the Mets and continue to control and manage the team’s operations. The Mets have been a major part of our families for more than 30 years and that is not going to change. As we have said before, we are totally committed to having the Mets again become a World Series winner. Our fans and all New Yorkers deserve nothing less.”
The bottom line here is that Wilpons are covering their asses here. They do not know how much the Trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy is going to eventually claw back from them and they are planning as if it is going to be enough where their operational budget for the team will compromised. Huge news. The first domino folks in what we can all hope is a final outcome of new ownership for this woebegone franchise.