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Wilpon confident about keeping control

Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets

Owner Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets addresses the media during spring training at Tradition Field. (Feb. 17, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon said Thursday he is convinced that his family will maintain a majority share of the team.

Wilpon, responding to questions as he left the Major League Baseball owners meetings in Manhattan, said his search for a minority partner should be completed in "the next couple of months."

Asked whether he was confident about continuing to call the shots for the team, Wilpon said, "Oh, very."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said that neither Wilpon nor Steve Greenberg, of investment bank Allen & Co., who is handling the Mets' partnership transaction, have presented minority owner candidates to him.

"I do talk to Steve Greenberg with great regularity," Selig said. "I have great confidence in him."

The Wilpons said in January that they would sell 25 percent of the team to help cover a potential legal settlement arising from the Bernard Madoff megafraud. The special trustee in the Madoff bankruptcy case is seeking to recoup some of the profits the family allegedly made by being among Madoff's luckier investors.

The Wilpons filed court papers accusing the Madoff trustee of making a host of false allegations. They have denied being aware of Madoff's fraud scheme.

Hedge-fund mogul Steven Cohen has been the focus of speculation that he wanted to buy a share of the Mets. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that prosecutors were examining trades made in an account overseen by Cohen at his firm, SAC Capital Investors, that were suggested by two of his former fund managers, who have pleaded guilty to insider trading. Asked if that would influence him, Selig declined to answer until he begins considering partnership candidates.

Cohen, speaking at a conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, said of the SEC investigation, "Nobody likes that type of media scrutiny. We take compliance very seriously."

With Adam Candee

New York Sports