As Trial Looms, Mets’ Future Uncertain

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As the March 19 trial against Fred Wilpon and his partner Saul Katz gets closer, Irving Picard’s laundry list continues to grow. Picard’s recent claims have been that the Mets co-owners relied so much on the Madoff funds to fill cash strapped holes in the organization. Picard’s lawsuit is an attempt to wrestle back the $386 million in profits the Mets owners pocketed from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Approximately $83 million of the profits was withdrawn in the two years prior to Madoff’s much-publicized December 2008 arrest. Picard’s biggest example was using the Madoff funds to buy out and defer former star Bobby Bonila’s contract. Meanwhile, lawyers for Wilpon and Katz argue that the duo never knew that Madoff’s investment fund was a huge fiction, and lost a reported $700 million in the scam. The Mets received a $25 million loan from MLB in November of 2010, and $40 million from Bank of America 1 year later to shore up their finances.

The century’s biggest scam has hit the NY Mets very hard and left them strapped for cash. Due to the scheme, this past season saw the Mets depart with three of their all-stars Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez, and corner stone Jose Reyes. Although their payroll dropped roughly $52 million, the Mets were not able to after any big free agents due to this pending law suit that is hanging over Citi Field. The Mets however did renovate their relief pitching since it needed lots of work and should be a huge upgrade for 2012 according to second year manager Terry Collins. The Mets were in contention until midseason last year, and are expected to still be in the playoff hunt after having several key players return from injuries.

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