The Mets parent company, Sterling Enterprises, by its own volition, is reportedly in deep doo-doo again. Forget free agents, forget everything…
Mets fans, if what is being reported is true, save the money on fuel, turn off the Hot Stove and stop looking for the team to sign any of the elite free agents – the Wilpons are broke.
If you live in the New York area or have a keen interest in horse racing, you’ve probably read about the $1.2 billion construction project that is underway in and around Belmont Park, the final stop of thoroughbreds competing for the Triple Crown.
The complex is said to include a 250-room hotel, an arena for the (NHL) New York Islanders, shopping malls, and a host of other goodies. It’s all spelled out neatly in this 400+ page Belmont Park Redevelopment Civic and Land Use Improvement Project report.
What you may not know is that Sterling Equities is responsible for a good chunk of the financing of the project. Which probably doesn’t hit home until you realize the chief officers for this company are Fred Wilpon as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; Saul Katz as President; and Jeff Wilpon as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
So, what’s the problem and what does anything have to do with the Mets?
I smell a rat – again…
According to Forbes.com, financing the project, which will be highly leveraged, with one source putting the debt at roughly $800 million, split between three partners, including the ubiquitous owners of the Mets.
Forbes cites three sources that have yet to uncover any indication that Sterling Equities has put in any money for its share of the project.
We’re Mets fans, not entrepreneurs adept in the world of finance. But we can smell a rat when there is one…
By now, Mets fans know you can’t make this stuff up. The investment history of Sterling Equities is littered with the settlement of $162 million, the amount Wilpon and Katz owed for their part in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Are the Mets at the bottom of the barrel
And of course, here’s the kicker. If the Wilpons are unable to meet this commitment, what is likely to happen with their commitment to the Mets?
What is Brodie Van Wagenen to think and do as he scours the free-agent market, as well as seeking possible trades to improve the Mets that may add a few bucks to the team payroll?
Is he supposed to fold up his tent while the Wilpons and their lawyers figure out their liability on the Belmont project? This, while 29 other teams are off and running with payroll budgets in hand, picking off this guy and that guy while, the Mets sit idle?
If the Wilpon/Katz money isn’t there for the Islanders arena, it does beg the question whether it’ll be there for the Mets.
Author’s Note 11/17/2019 3:28 pm EST
I have been scouring the internet to find additional factual information. It would be helpful to know, for instance, what the payment schedule is for each of the three investment groups, are any of the payments deferred, the dollar amount Sterling Equities is libel for, and the penalties (if any) if Sterling Equities opts out of the project.
If a reader has insight, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)