NEW YORK (WFAN / WCBS 880 / AP) — Jeff Wilpon, speaking at the Mets’ spring training complex Wednesday, reiterated that while the franchise is indeed exploring a partial sale, the Wilpon family will retain a majority stake.
“We’re not selling controlling interest in the team. It’s not on the table,” said Wilpon. “We’re not giving up control.”
“This is all obviously a little bit of a distraction, and I feel really bad for our family and bad for my dad and my uncle because this is just unfounded criticism on them,” added Wilpon. “They’ve had years and years that they’ve been good citizens, good businessmen. And to attack them they way they’ve been attacked is really very unfair, unfounded and that’s all I really want to say on that.”
Names ranging from Mark Cuban to Martin Luther King, Jr. have been said to have potential interest in owning the Mets.
Even Donald Trump is in the mix.
The New York real estate owner with a flair for publicity said Tuesday he wants to help the Wilpons.
“I hope that it works out well for the Wilpons because they’re friends of mine,” Trump said Tuesday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “If they ever needed help, I’d be there to help them. If I could help, I’d love to help them.”
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that the lawsuit against the Wilpons and Saul Katz filed by the trustee trying to recover money for the victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme should not affect operations at camp this spring. Wilpon agreed with the assessment.
“We’re going to be committed to make sure all the resources are here to continue to run this team the way it’s been run,” Wilpon said. “I don’t see it affecting things. We’re going to continue to make it work and move forward.”
One casualty of the Mets’ financial woes could be Jose Reyes. New York’s fan favorite is unsigned following the 2011 season.
“We’re looking at budgets,” said Wilpon. “There’s some with Jose in it. There’s some with Jose not in it. And that’s just prudent planning.”
While the Wilpons claim they were victims who lost money in the Madoff swindle, Irving Picard says they withdrew more than they put in and should have heeded warnings that Madoff’s claimed profits were too good to be true.
“Obviously you’d like not to deal with it, but it’s just unfortunate the attacks have come on (Katz and Fred Wilpon),” said Jeff. “We’re going to fight it and we’re going to be victorious in the end.”
Madoff told the New York Times Tuesday that the Wilpons “knew nothing” about his massive scheme.
Will the Wilpons retain a majority of the Mets, or will someone make them an offer they can’t refuse? Sound off in the comments below!
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