BOB: Mets sale talk heats upby Brian Borawski
February 09, 2011
Mets’ owner’s woes continueIt looks like Mets’ owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are being thrown down a deeper hole then initially anticipated and the sale of a minority interest in the Mets might not be enough to cover what the owners could be required to pay. The court appointed trustee who’s looking to help alleviate some of the losses that occurred in the Bernie Madoff scandal is now looking for $1 billion from the two owners (yes, that’s with a “b”).
At issue is whether Wilpon and Katz should have known Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme. Even more damning is that Wilpon and Katz are being accused of restructuring their hedge fund when registering it in order to disguise their holdings in Madoff’s fund to regulators. Probably the worst of the allegations, and the most directly related to the Mets, is that Madoff was very much involved in all aspects of Wilpon’s finances and, at times, it appeared that Madoff was acting as a personal banker to the Mets.
Wilpon and Katz are sticking to their guns right now and say the trial is a witch hunt. I’m interested in seeing how this all plays out, especially with the start of the season right around the corner.
Athletics’ relocation buyout doesn’t stop with GiantsIf the Oakland Athletics move to San Jose, there’s little doubt that the San Francisco Giants will be compensated in some way. As Field of Schemes reports, economist Roger Noll has estimated this buyout to be somewhere in the range of $20-30 million. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop there because the San Jose Giants, an affiliate of the San Francisco club, might also need a buyout.
While the number is a lot smaller then what the Giant’s are going to get, it looks like the San Jose Giants are going to ask for $4 million. So when it’s all said and done, if these numbers are correct, it could cost the Athletics $34 million just to get started. Still, Field of Schemes thinks that for $34 million, he can’t imagine why there’s such a holdup if everyone has their numbers in order.
McCourt’s old lawyer gets new lawyersLast week, I talked about how Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt cut ties with his old law firm, Bingham McCutchen, because of how they muddied the post-nuptial property agreement between Frank and his ex-wife, Jamie. This eventually cost him complete ownership of the team and now it looks like his old attorneys are anticipating a lawsuit of their own, because they hired legal counsel of their own. They’re looking to Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, a Los Angeles firm that specializes in malpractice litigation.
For now, nothing has been filed, but this is definitely a preemptive move. It’s pretty safe that some kind of suit will be filed considering the way things turned out with the team.
Champ sues SWB YankeesThe Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate, are being sued by their former mascot, Champ, for violating worker protection laws. The former mascot, Brian Bonner, claims that he was improperly classified as a manager so the club could avoid paying him overtime. He claims he worked upwards of 80 hours a week and, for his trouble, he was paid $22,000 for the year. He’s also claiming that, despite being called the team’s marketing and community relations manager, he had no direct reports. The team denied the allegations and it wouldn’t surprise me if we never hear about this again and the two sides settle.
Albuquerque to host Triple-A championshipThe Triple-A championship, formerly the Bricktown Classic, is on the move for the first time. It has been played in Oklahoma City since the idea was restarted back in 2006, and the game pits the winner of the International League against the winner of the Pacific Coast League. The winner-take-all game usually marks the end of the minor league season.
In 2011, it’s going to be played in Abuquerque, the home of the Isotopes. The last time a big event was held there was back in 2007, when the Isotopes hosted the Triple-A All Star Game.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.