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Author says Wilpon losses to Madoff will force sale of Mets

The owners of the Mets will be forced to sell the pro baseball team due to huge losses suffered in the Bernard Madoff swindle, the author of a book about the disgraced money manager said Friday.

The Wilpon family, led by Mets owner Fred Wilpon, lost about $700 million because of Madoff, according to Erin Arvedlund, author of "Too Good to Be True," published this month.

Arvedlund said she does not know the terms of the Wilpons' bank loans but said the losses are steep enough that a sale of the baseball team is certain.

"It's qualified by when," she said. "It's possible they would have to sell by next year." Fred Wilpon was among thousands of investors defrauded by Madoff, himself a Mets fan.

Madoff pleaded guilty in March to running the biggest investment fraud in Wall Street's history, which investigators said bilked investors out of $13 billion to $21 billion.

Madoff is serving 150 years in a federal  prison in North Carolina.

The team said Arvedlund has no knowledge of the baseball team or its finances and repeated previous statements that the Mets are not for sale. "Her speculation that the Mets -- or any part of the team -- is for sale is completely false and is irresponsible," the team said.

A team spokesman told MarketWatch that Arvedlund's loss projection is inaccurate.

Some bankers have speculated the Wilpons would be forced to sell all or part of the Mets, while others said a sale of part of the Mets cable TV channel SportsNet New York was more likely.

In April, Forbes magazine estimated the Mets were worth $912 million, trailing only the Yankees among Major League Baseball teams.

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