Josh Kosman and Kaja Whitehouse of the NY Post and FOX Sports, have been covering the ongoing Madoff/Wilpon/Picard storyline since it’s inception and today they are reporting that the extension the Mets are trying to work out for paying back the $25 million dollar emergency loan from MLB, is actually a 4-month extension.
“The Mets are seeking at least a four month extension,” they write, as they continue to work on closing the sales of minority stakes in the franchise.
The loan was originally due to be paid back in November after they were lent the money because they could not afford to make its revenue-sharing payment last Winter.
The deal for an extension has yet to be approved, but the Commissioner is making calls to “other team owners to rally support” a source following the situation said.
Last week, during the aftermath of Jose Reyes signing with the Marlins, Mets GM Sandy Alderson cited that the Mets have lost $70 million this year. After nearly a year of saying the Madeoff/Picard case would have no bearing on the team, it was the first time he mentioned the team losses so specifically since taking over.
Whitehouse concludes that part of the Wilpons’ plan is to sell more than five stakes at the same time so they can raise enough money to put it on “firm footing for at least a few more years.”
Both the Mets and MLB declined comment on the extension.
Additionally, Bob Klapisch of FOX Sports, says the Wilpons are in way over their heads:
The Wilpons owe $430 million in principal of a loan against the team, due in 2014. They owe $450 million in principal of a loan against SNY, due in 2015. They owe an estimated $600 million, due in $25 million increments every six months, on the ballpark.
And we haven’t even mentioned the collateral damage from the Madoff lawsuit, which currently stands at $83 million. That is, unless Judge Jed Rakoff’s recent ruling, which was favorable to the Mets, is allowed to stand. If Rakoff’s calculations are reversed on appeal, the Wilpons could be on the hook for hundreds of millions more.
He concludes that “The Wilpons are no longer able to finance a big-market team.”
Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog however cautions Mets fans, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, he writes. “In other words, there is no guarantee that a new majority owner will be any worse or better than what we’ve known in the past.”
Personally, I can’t envision a new ownership group being worse than anything we have going now, but that’s my own opinion.