As most readers on MMO know, the Mets recently got a $40 million dollar bridge loan from Bank of America to help tide the team over until some of those $20 million dollar ownership stakes they’ve been peddling start to come through. For more on that, read my post “A Bridge To Nowhere” and catch yourself up.
What really irks me right now, is not so much that the Wilpons got a $40 million dollar loan, but who they got it from; Bank of America. That absolutely stinks to high heaven.
This is the same Bank of America who only two years ago got a $138 billion dollar bailout from the United States government. At the time, Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis told his investors that “losses were accelerating beyond expectations.”
In addition to the bailout money, nearly 13% of the first $350 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds went to Bank of America as well. This was all the result of thousands and thousands of bad loans by BOA to very low credit worthy individuals and thousands of high-risk loans to failing businesses.
Now I don’t begrudge the Wilpons applying for and receiving a loan – any loan no matter the size. They are American citizens and like all of us are entitled to the same privileges afforded to all of us under the constitution.
But what I do have a problem with is Bank of America doling out such a sizable loan to an institution that is only weeks away from becoming completely insolvent based on current and anticipated losses. This transaction is inexcusable and wreaks like the Great Kills landfill on a scorching hot, sunny day in August.
This isn’t the first time I’ve taken issue with a situation like this. It reminds me of when Citigroup took bailout money with one hand, and then agreed to pay the Wilpons $20 million a year for the naming rights to the park over the next 20 years with the other hand. That’s adds up to a grand total of $400 million dollars.
After a national outcry over this fiasco, Citigroup vowed that none of the money going toward Citi Field would come from TARP money. Still, what kind of a crock is that? It just sounded like some high tech number fudging to me – and while it appeased Congress, it certainly didn’t satisfy me.
Anyway, if any of you wonder why the Wilpons are still the owners of the Mets today, as I’ve said on many occasions before – you can thank Uncle Bud Selig primarily for that.
But leave some blame for Citi Group who funnels in $20 million annually to the Wilpons, and now Bank of America as well, for keeping this New York Mess alive.