NY Mets: Four reasons why you shouldn’t miss The Wilpons
By Zach Diamond
Reason #2: Fred Wilpon benefitting from Bernie Madoff’s serious white-collar crime is not ok
After Madoff’s arrest in 2008, lawyer Irving Picard was put in charge of recovering money for the people who had their money stolen. Picard initially claimed that Fred Wilpon and co-owner Saul Katz knew about the fraud or should have known about the fraud and should pay 1$ billion dollars to the victims.
Fred Wilpon was being accused of having known about and profited off of the largest financial crime in US history, and that is something that should not be taken lightly.
The lawsuit alone should have been enough for Major League Baseball to force him to sell. Wilpon getting himself and the Mets baseball team wrapped up in the Ponzi scheme is conduct that should not have been tolerated by the top executives.
Wilpon and Katz claimed that they did not know about the scheme and that they were victims too. But, how can they be victims? They became billionaires investing with Madoff and owned a baseball team because of it.
So many innocent people actually lost all of their fortunes because of Madoff. The innocent victims of the scheme cannot be compared to the Wilpons, who made hundreds of millions off Madoff.
The result of the lawsuit is that Mr. Picard dropped the claims that the men had ignored warnings about Mr. Madoff; Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz agreed that they were obligated to pay back $162 million in so-called fictitious profits they had reaped from the net winner accounts from 2002 to ’08.”
Considering the initial lawsuit was for $1 billion dollars, getting it down to $162 million was a huge win for the Wilpons. But let’s not understate the significance of this. An owner of an MLB team involved in a lawsuit of this kind should not be owning a baseball team.
Fred Wilpon’s relationship with Madoff and the eventual lawsuit should be disqualifying conduct for an owner of a baseball team. Especially since as a result for the next decade the Mets operated at limited financial capability. There should be no toleration for this level of criminal white collar behavior especially when it impacts the team roster.
Mets fans should not miss the Wilpon’s because a person who became a billionaire off the backs of a guy committing absurd fraud should not own a sports team. While Steve Cohen has had his own trouble with illegal financial stuff (which billionaire hasn’t?), if any white-collar criminal is going to own the team, it might as well not be the Wilpons.