Cash-Strapped Mets Look for Another Loan, Report Says

By Mariel Clark on March 1, 2011 12:38pm 

Mets owner Fred Wilpon chews on his glasses during a press conference in 2003.
Mets owner Fred Wilpon chews on his glasses during a press conference in 2003.
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AP Photo/Osamu Honda

By Mariel S. Clark

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — The cash-strapped New York Mets are tying to secure tens of millions of dollars in loans so they can cover basic expenses while the teams looks for buyers to take over a minority stake in the team, the New York Post reported.

The team, which already owes $505 million, was bailed out last year when banks led by JPMorgan Chase refinanced $430 million of the team's debt, the paper reported.

The Mets "exerting strong pressure on JPMorgan" to cobble together another group of banks to make a new loan happen, a source told the Post.

The team, which is estimated to be worth $800 million — enough to cover its debts — found itself in financial hot water after team owner Fred Wilpon invested money with Bernard Madoff, the paper reported.

Wilpon and his family may owe up to $1 billion in alleged profits and damages from the Ponzi scheme, because the trustee in the case says they should have known it was a scam, according to the Post. The Wilpons deny that claim, the paper reported.

The Madoff trustee is also suing JPMorgan for $6.4 billion, according to the Post.

The Mets are looking for groups to buy less than 50 percent of the club, keeping the Wilpons as owners, and have listed perspective buyers to the MLB to be vetted, the paper reported.

The newest loan would help the team cover basic operating expenses in the meantime.

Although one source told the Post, "they [JPMorgan] believe the Mets still have the capacity to borrow," another scoffed at the idea calling the potential loan, "risky."

"You don't lend into a distressed situation," the second source told the paper.


Mets owner and CEO Fred Wilpon (left) and COO Jeff Wilpon speak to press in January about plans to sell part of the team.
Mets owner and CEO Fred Wilpon (left) and COO Jeff Wilpon speak to press in January about plans to sell part of the team.
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AP Images/Kathy Kmonicek

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