In his latest article, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post lashed out at outgoing commissioner Bud Selig as well as Mets ownership for the sorry financial state of the team.
Mets ownership still appears beached, trying to extricate itself from its eagerly self-imposed relationship with no-questions-allowed Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. Whether Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz jumped in blind or jumped in knowing the score — or at least suspecting it — they jumped in with both feet.
But to suggest they jumped in as rubes — that they were duped by a con artist preying on their investment naivete, and thus previously had grown wealthy despite lacking financial sophistication — would be tough to swallow given that Madoff was the second such scammer they fed.
He criticizes Selig for failing to do anything about the Mets’ owners involvement in the first Ponzi scheme and then turning a blind eye again to their involvement in the second and even worse Ponzi scheme, failing both times to address, investigate or penalize them. Instead he made sure that that the Mets navigated through their legal and financial problems going so far as to floating them a $25 million loan, putting his assistant Sandy Alderson in the GM position, and ensuring they remained entrenched.
Be it due to the team owners’ reckless investing, their abject greed or their willful negligence and stupidity, the commissioner should have determined they had proven they are too self-imperiled to own a big league club, even in the rustic hamlet of New York City.
Mushnick argues that Selig would have never tolerated such suspicious, irresponsible, and questionable actions from any of the managers of his auto dealerships, but had no problems downplaying and covering up what was going on in Flushing.
The Mets continue to kick the same can down the alley, he says, choosing to rent Citi Field’s entrance space to one of america’s most dubious enterprises, Amway.
In 2010, Amway paid $34 million in cash and provided $22 million in products to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit that accused the company and top-level distributors of fraud and operating a pyramid scheme.
The team still doesn’t appear out of the woods and despite a bottom five MLB payroll near $85 million, the word is that any financial flexibility is still out of reach and that the team will have to unload players Daniel Murphy and Bartolo Colon to free up money just to cover the expected $22 million they’ll need for contractual and arbitration raises for the 2015 season.
This makes it highly unlikely that left field and shortstop will be addressed through free agency or trade, but instead selling the fan base on internal options while bringing in more scrapheap signings.