The NY Times has a fascinating look into the financial troubles of the NY Mets-and it is becoming increasingly persuasive that the Wilpons effort to develop the area around CiitiField is something the beleaguered owners need to get out of a huge financial hole:
"The Mets, whose financial woes have included steep losses, burdensome debt and an expensive showdown with the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff, are talking to banks to find a way to raise cash, according to two people with knowledge of their plans."
Readers of this blog are acutely aware of how the Wilpons-and their real estate arm Sterling Equities-used an illegal lobbying scheme to get hold of the development rights to the city's fraudulent Phase I of the Willets Point project-and along with these rights a tax payer gift of $200 million worth of property. In doing this Redford and Newman style Sting the father and son pair has some really good practice at fraud:
"In the immediate aftermath of Madoff’s December 2008 arrest on fraud and other charges, Wilpon and Katz portrayed themselves as innocent victims of the Ponzi scheme Madoff later pleaded guilty to orchestrating. Wilpon, Katz and their families and businesses had scores of accounts tied up in the Ponzi scheme, and they hoped to recoup many of their lost millions.
Instead, the court-appointed trustee charged with determining the legitimate victims of the scheme and the illegitimate beneficiaries of it accused Wilpon and Katz of having greedily invested with Madoff for decades despite ample warnings that his investment operation was suspect."
Does anyone think that the Wilpons were totally unaware that they were profiting from a scam-one that ruined the lives of hundreds of families and religious institutions? Schooled in scandal they went on to commit one of their own-they conspired and schemed to steal the property of their hard working neighbors in Willets Point ruining even more lives in the process.
Not content to simply take other folks property, the Wilpons have willingly become a central part of the city's larger scheme to steal parkland from struggling immigrants who use the Flushing Meadows oasis for family recreation.
These are the scoundrels who are being awarded free land and development rights by a misguided administration. Rather than being given awards, the Wilpons should be gracing posters for "America's Most Wanted." Never has scheming an illegal conduct been so rewarded by officials who should be protected the public interest and not traducing it.