This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

New York Mets: 'Bailed Out' Again?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The New York Mets already got one "bailout" from Congress. Could they be in line for another?

The Mets' first indirect bailout came via Citigroup (C - Get Report). When Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), it allowed the Mets to hang onto the $400 million in naming rights they got from the bailed-out banking giant for agreeing to call their new ballpark Citi Field.

Now Rep. Gary Ackerman (D., N.Y.), whose Queens district includes Citi Field, has introduced legislation that would prevent trustees from clawing back money from investors in Ponzi schemes like the one conducted by Bernard Madoff that came apart when his sons reported him to federal authorities in 2008.
Mr. Met
Mr. Met, Mr. Met. Step right up and meet Mr. Met...

Clawbacks are a way of helping investors who lost money in a Ponzi scheme. Some investors with Madoff, whose fraud went undetected for years, withdrew more than they put in. While they may have thought what they were withdrawing was investment gains, it was actually just fresh money being added by other investors.

Clawbacks would likely hit the Mets' owners pretty hard, because they actually netted $48 million from their dealings with Madoff, according to reports from The Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News. Citing bankruptcy filings, the newspapers reported that the Mets Limited Partnership withdrew about $571 million from two accounts with Madoff, after having put in $523 million.

Perhaps expecting to lose their legal battles over the Madoff money, the Mets signed just one free agent in the off-season, much to the dismay of their fans. The front page of The New York Times Friday noted that attendance at Citi Field is down nearly 7,000 fans per game compared to last year, the worst decline in Major League Baseball. Maybe the six members of New York's congressional delegation who are supporting Ackerman's bill are afraid the team will end up in New Jersey if they don't step in. Buck up, folks: At least you've got the Yankees.

The Mets' political contributions couldn't possibly be a factor in the proposed legislation. After all, Sterling Equities, which owns the Mets, was only the 14th largest donor to Ackerman in the 2008 election cycle, giving him $9,812 -- barely enough for a cab ride from Queens to Washington, D.C.

Ackerman told TheStreet that neither the Mets' owners nor their representatives communicated with him about the legislation.

"I don't know how the Mets made out in the end," Ackerman says. "My recollection is, initially looking at this thing, they had lots of accounts in Madoff." The congressman conceded he is a Mets fan but says his wife is a far bigger one.
Mets owner Fred Wilpon

Several calls to Sterling Equities executives, including Fred and Richard Wilpon, and Saul Katz, were not returned, nor was a call to a Mets spokeswoman. An email message and phone call to Karen E. Wagner, an attorney who, according to this New York Times article, appeared in court to advocate for the Wilpon family in relation to the Madoff case, were not returned.
1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
C $46.28 0.00%
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs