Wilpon: NY Mets Owners ‘Not Selling Controlling Interest’

February 17, 2011

Major League Baseball (MLB) side the New York Mets’ owners, the Wilpon family, aren’t willing to sell a controlling interest in the franchise accoridng Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon who reiterated their stance after several ownership candidates surfaced in recent days.

Along with chairman Fred Wilpon, Jeff’s father, the owners announced that they may seel as much as 25 per cent of the franchise on Januray 28, because of a lawsuit tied to the Ponzi scheme created by Bernard L. Madoff.

Jeff Wilpon told reporters that his family won’t be forced to give up control of the franchise, stating: “We’re not selling controlling interest in the team. It’s not on the table.”

Trustee Irving Picard wants to recover US$300m in alleged phony profits from Madoff’s scheme made by Sterling Equities Inc., which owns the Mets, and as much as $700m in principal, his lawyer, David Sheehan, said on Feb. 11.

The comments came the day after executives from the investment bank and brokerage firm Tritaurian Capital Inc. created BuyTheMets.com, which would sell $999 shares in an ownership group that would give fans a voice in running the team.

Other reported interests have surfaced from the likes of Martin Luther King III, billionaire Donald Trump and life-long Mets fan and co-founder of Glaceau Vitaminwater sports drink, Michael Repole.