As most of you now know, Mets ownership and trustee Irving Picard reached a settlement for $162 million this morning, as was first reported by Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.
In the light of this news we have also learned that the Mets will not pay anything for three years because their net obligation could end up being around $29 million after the total accounting for net loser funds is completed. This is a coup for the Mets owners.
And even when they begin paying back that $29 million three years from now, they can spread the payments out over four years.
This is quite a departure from the original $1 billion dollar lawsuit that many speculated (and reported) would lead the Mets owners to bankruptcy, financial ruin and scandal.
“This litigation is behind us and I want to thank everybody,” Fred Wilpon said outside the courthouse. “I am very, very pleased. As we said from the very beginning, we were never willfully blind and always acted in good faith. I can’t wait to get back to trying to bring the New York Mets back to prominence.”
Co-owner Saul Katz added,
“We have done no wrong and have always acted in good faith. This settlement bears this out. I thank everyone very much for their faith in us”
So, what started out as a $1 billion dollar claim against the Mets owners, ended up being a guaranteed $29 million dollar net loss for the Mets as the “willful blindness” claim was dropped by Irving Picard, perhaps because Judge Rakoff told him he had a snowball’s chance in hell of proving that to a jury.
For those of you who wish to read about the agreement, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin posted the actual Settlement Agreement here.
The bottom line is that this was a HUGE WIN FOR THE METS OWNERS.
Put away all that folly about bankruptcy and selling the team that has pervaded the Mets blogosphere for the past 12 months.
The Mets lost $60-70 million last season. They have slashed payroll $51 million, cut a minor league affiliate, slashed 10% of the workforce to stop the bleeding. Most of this came from the recommendations of CRG whose services were retained for the purposes of turning the team around and generating positive cash flow, which is what I maintained on MMO all along.
It turns out that as I’ve tried to point out for almost a year, that much of what was being speculated under the guise of reporting was mostly overblown and widely misrepresented, and in many instances it was one-sided and not objective. Mostly because fans are unobjective by nature and make for poor reporters.
Wishful thinking clouds everything including facts and the reality of a situation.
Some folks are hearing about “net loser funds” for the first time today, except for MMO readers who have known about that for quite some time.
Today was a reality check for a lot of people…
The good news is that this is all behind us now and the team, the players and the fans can enjoy the season without this negative cloud of uncertainty hanging over our heads.
This settlement spared us months of more bad news and years of appeals. It was a great decision by Fred Wilpon and hopefully one of many more in the years to come.
No owner in the National League has invested more money on payroll to try and field a winner since 1995 than Mr. Wilpon. No owner has made a bigger financial commitment to their team than Mr. Wilpon. If you wanted an owner with deep pockets, you already have one. No other NL Team owner could keep pace with Mr. Wilpon and that won’t change.
If you are unhappy with how the team has responded in light of all this spending and sizable commitment by the Mets owners, than blame the ones who purchased the groceries like Steve Phillips or Omar Minaya.
If you think hiring Sandy Alderson was a terrible decision, than blame Mr. Wilpon. But if you think it was a wise decision than give Mr. Wilpon credit.
Finally, if you love the Mets than I urge you to support your team. Refusing to support the team because of some belief that it will serve as a blind protest of the owner, is not Wilpon’s folly, it’s yours.
As for myself, I’m looking forward to Mets baseball.
I’m looking forward to seeing if Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Jon Niese can become core players.
I’m looking forward to seeing if Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia can mimic the success of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and David Cone in the years to come.
Baseball’s back… And we have today’s settlement to thank for that.