Here is a timeline looking at key dates of the Mets under Fred Wilpon with an emphasis on ownership and their financial woes.
By Anthony Castellano
Jan. 24, 1980: Doubleday & Co. purchases controlling interest in the Mets from the Charles Payson family for $21.1 million. Minority partner Fred Wilpon’s share is a reported 5 percent.
Nov. 14, 1986: Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, Jr. purchase the Mets from Doubleday & Co. for a $80.75 million, becoming full partners with each owning a 50-percent controlling interest.
Aug. 13, 2002: Agreement is reached on the sale of Doubleday’s 50-percent interest in the Mets to the Wilpon family for $135 million. The deal is officially completed 10 days later.
Dec. 7, 2010: Irving Picard, the trustee appointed to recover and distribute Bernard Madoff’s assets, files a lawsuit against Fred Wilpon and his real estate firm, Sterling Equities, for withdrawing money they invested Madoff.
Jan. 28, 2011: Fred and Jeff Wilpon announce they will sell a 20-25 percent minority stake of the Mets.
Feb. 3, 2011: Settlement negotiations between the Wilpons and Picard break down. The lawsuit is expected to become public the following day.
Feb. 4, 2011: The lawsuit becomes public and the Wilpons are accused of feeding off Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The report also states that Fred Wilpon tried to get Madoff to buy a piece of the team in 2002. Picard wants the Wilpons to surrender at least $300 million in fictitious profits to help pay back Madoff investors.
Feb. 16, 2011: At the Mets spring training facility in Port St. Lucie., Fla., Jeff Wilpon tells reporters his family is not selling control of the team.
Feb. 17, 2011: Also at the Mets’ spring training site, Fred Wilpon says his family “will be vindicated” in the Madoff case. He added that they were "duped" by former close friend Bernard Madoff.
Feb. 25, 2011: It is announced the Mets received a $25 million loan from Major League Baseball in November, 2010, to cover short-term operating costs.
March 2011: Forbes Magazine values the Mets at $747 million, a 13-percent drop from the $858 million the season before. It was the steepest decline for any team in baseball.
March 1, 2011: MLB receives a list of potential candidates seeking to buy a minority interst in the team.
March 18, 2011: Picard amends his original complaint and now seeks more than $1 billion from Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz and Sterling Equities.
May 26, 2011: The Mets announce an agreement to sell a minority share of the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn for $200 million.
Sept. 1, 2011: The exclusive negotiating period between David Einhorn and the Mets expires and ownership decides not to extend it. Since no deal was reached, the Mets will have to explore other options to cover their losses.
Dec. 12, 2011: Five days after the Miami Marlins introduced Jose Reyes as their new shortstop, the cash-strapped Mets confirmed they took out another loan. A source said the loan was for $40 million. The team owes $25 million to MLB for a loan issued in November 2010 and, reportedly, hundreds of millions more to financial institutions.
March 3, 2012: Newsday obtains a report that the Mets' ballpark-related revenue (parking, concessions, stadium advertising and more) has dropped more than 30 percent since Citi Field opened in 2009, and premium-ticket sales have fallen almost 50 percent.
March 19, 2012: Mets ownership reached a $162 million settlement with trustee Irving Picard on the day a civil trial was set to begin. The Mets' owners will not have to begin paying any of that settlement for three years.
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