Photo: Mets Underground
UPDATE: The suit, unsealed earlier today, is actually seeking $295 million from the Wilpons – $700 million less than the Post sources believed it would be – for ignoring warnings that Madoff was fraudulent. The Mets owners opened 483 accounts with Madoff. It’s now less likely that the Wilpons will have to sell their entire stake. They should be fine if they can find a buyer for a minority interest in the team.
EARLIER: New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon’s settlement negotiations with victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme have broken down, and a full trial could cost Wilpon more than $1 billion, the New York Post reports.
He might have to sell his entire stake in the team.
Wilpon, whose real estate firm took a big hit with the market downturn, is cash poor. Now that the lawsuit he faces from Madoff victim’s won’t be settled out of court, he’ll face an expensive trial. The victims are seeking nearly $1 billion in punitive damages from the Mets owner.
One source tells the Post that Wilpon will have to sell his entire stake in the Mets, which Forbes values at $858 million, to fund his part in the trial and potential punishment. Previously, Wilpon insisted he was only going to sell a non-controlling stake, perhaps 25 per cent of the team.
But another says the evidence against the Mets is inconclusive, at best.
If Wilpon is forced to sell a controlling stake, we know of at least one interested buyer who would make Mets fans’ hearts swoon: Mark Cuban.
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