HOWARD: ``Club not for sale.''
Dave Howard, Mets vice president, business operations, called into FOX Business News to confront author Erin Arvedlund, who said club owner Fred Wilpon lost up to $700 in the Ponzi scam and could be forced to sell the team as early as next season.
Howard said: “Her claims are outrageous, unfounded and grossly irresponsible…. The figures she’s throwing out are inaccurate and substantially overstated… We have said from the outset that the losses incurred from the Madoff fraud have not and will not affect the operation of the Mets. The team is not for sale, whole or in part. It is family owned and it will be family owned for the long term… There’s no need to sell… There will be no sale and I can’t state it any more definitively than that. Her source is bogus and her claims are false and irresponsible.”
The club has been vehement and vocal in its denies, while the author responded with a mousy “we’ll see.”
Yesterday on the blog we talked about a Reuters story which quoted Erin Arvedlund, author of “Too Good to Be True,” of saying the Wilpon family lost $700 million in the Madoff scam and would be forced to sell the team by early of 2010.
Fred Wilpon told the New York Times, “I’m fine, my family’s fine, my business family’s fine.”
WILPON: Says Mets not for sale.
Wilpon also said the family has an emotional attachment to the Mets and would not sell the team. Wilpon said the team’s revenue from its share of the MLB television deal, luxury suits, ticket sales, concessions, ad revenue at Citi Field and its share of SNY were not affected by the scam. He said the Madoff losses were significantly less than $700 million, but did not specify.
Wilpon paid $135 million to buy out Nelson Doubleday’s share of the team in 2002, and the Mets, according to Forbes Magazine, are currently worth $912 million.
Major League Baseball monitors the finances of each team quarterly, and president Bob DuPuy said the team is under no financial distress.