Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, the Wilpons owe a lot of people a lot of money. Most recently (as of this morning), the Mets owners settled with Irving Picard for $162 million. This settlement amount was seen as a “big win” for the Wilpons, as the initial figure was for a billion dollars (and then eventually reduced to $385 million). Also, the three-headed monster of Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, and Saul Katz do not have to pay back that $162 million for another three years, giving them ample time to come up with the money. The good news is that the Picard settlement finally gives everyone a firm idea of how much debt the Wilpons have. The bad news, however, is that their debt exceeds $1.95 billion.
Everyone has been focusing so intently on the Picard case, that they’ve forgotten about all the other money the Wilpons owe around town. For starters, they owe Major League Baseball $25 million. Wilpons’ close friend Bud Selig was nice enough to fork over the comparatively small coin, and has continually claimed that he’s not worried about being re-payed. He’s probably the only person who feels that way.
The next loan was $40 million from Bank of America. It was classified as a “bridge loan,” needed in part to “continue operations until minority shares of the team [could] be sold.” To give credit where credit is due, owners do need to spend some money to market towards, entertain, and attract prospective buyers. And the plan paid-off, as the team found guaranteed buyers for six shares of $20 million each. Only problem is that those buyers are Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz, and Sports Net New York (SNY)–the latter being a Wilpon-owned television company.
But again, those $25 million and $40 million loans are peanuts compared to the other debt the Wilpons have. Fred, Jeff, and Saul also have a $430 million loan on the team (due in 2014), a $450 million loan on SNY (due in 2015), and a $600 million remaining loan on Citi Field (paid in $25 million increments every six months). That’s a whole lot of dough to be paid out in such a short period of time.
There is no doubt that Picard’s settlement alleviates most of the confusion surrounding the Wilpons total debt, but it hardly explains how the long-time Mets owners will actually be able to pay it back. Lumping an additional $162 million on top of a lingering $1.8 billion doesn’t put anyone’s finances over the edge–the edge has already been well-cleared. With the team not generating any revenue (the Mets lost $70 million in 2011), and not having the proper payroll to build a contender, it hardly bodes well for a Wilpon-owned New York Mets. At least the team doesn’t owe $29 million to Bobby Bonilla over the next 24 years, right? (They do).
Tags: Bank Of America Mets Loan Ben Berkon Citi Field Loan Fred Wilpon Irving Picard Jeff Wilpon Mets Mets Settlement MLB Mets Loan New York New York Mets Picard Settlement Rising Apple Saul Katz SNY Loan Wilpon Debt Wilpon Settlement Wilpons Debt Wilpons Picard Settlement