Madoff case settled and Fred Wilpon gets new nickname

So it’s finally over. Mets owner Fred “Wimpy” Wilpon will gladly pay Tuesday if you give him a hamburger today. But in this case “Tuesday” is three years from now and “hamburger” is the big business known as the New York Mets.

The Madoff clawback suit is settled with the Mets on the hook for $162 million but with the money not payable until three years from now. And if that wasn’t enough of a win for the Wilpons, they likely will not have to pay that much money. You see, the Wilpons are available to receive money from the loser fund, getting back some cash they lost when Madoff’s scam collapsed.

Originally, the owners were being sued for $1 billion dollars. That amount was later reduced to $386 million, as Judge Rakoff limited the amount of time that the trustee could look back to two years. However, the decision to limit the period to two years was one of many things that could have been reversed upon appeal.

It’s hard to declare a decision that makes you liable for $162 million a win but I do not see how we can view this as anything else for the Mets’ owners. The amount, while staggering, is not enough to force an immediate sale. And the time frame further makes it possible for the Wilpons to retain control of the team, which has been their goal all along.

The question becomes: How should we view this settlement for Irving Picard? Perhaps a billion dollars was never a likely sum for the trustee to recover but is a little over 16 percent of that a good amount? Initially, I feel that he should have held out for more but undoubtedly that’s because I was hoping for this case to be a knockout blow.

The Wilpons have not been horrible owners but I think the majority of the fan base was hoping that the clawback lawsuit would be the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced the family to sell. We have all seen how the Rangers have turned things around with new, well-funded ownership and had similar hopes with the Mets.

Instead, the fans have to accept the Wilpons retaining control of their team.

The only thing to do is now focus 100 percent on the product on the field. That may not be to the owners’ best interests, either, as the Mets are 3-11-1 and have not won in their last nine games.

So, enjoy that hamburger today, Wimpy.

4 comments for “Madoff case settled and Fred Wilpon gets new nickname

  1. David Groveman
    March 19, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    This is GREAT news for the team. I don’t much care if it’s the Wilpons or a new owner, the Mets should be run by 2013/2014 like a big market team again. Add in the great base of players Alderson’s started and the Mets could succeed for an extended time.

    I think this should remove doubts about the ability to re-sign Wright and equally remove the chances of my “All-Lefty” Lineup.

  2. March 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I have no problem with Fred remaining at the helm, so long as the money is there too. Fingers crossed the Jose Reyes situation never happens again.

    I will, however, have a problem if Jeff is involved. Even if the Madoff situation never happened, I still would have begged Fred to sell before his son could sabotage the franchise.

  3. Metsense
    March 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    If the Wilpons give Alderson the same autonomy that they gave Minaya then maybe some money will be spent on some of the value players that was passed up on this past winter. Now maybe there will be a true financial direction the team will take. These past two years have been frustrating with the financial restraints (and double talk about it)placed on this franchise.

  4. Chris F
    March 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Folks, this team is not going back to the budget numbers that will compete with our cross-town enemy. Sandy came in to reduce payroll immediately to be sure, but also to permanently restructure the payroll to make the Mets a smaller budget team. Its time to realize this is headed for a $110M team at the most. Once they shed Santana and Bay, expect them to look and develop more like the Rays than the Yankees. I heard Sandy comment that Wright is an exception to his playbook…making him the likely permanent face of the Mets. There has been nothing but failure financially competing head to head with the Yankees, and dont expect those days to come back. Big bucks is not what Sandy is or does.
    Chris

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