Despite the clouds looming over billionaire Steve Cohen for “rampant insider trading,” he appears as cozy as ever with New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Cohen and Wilpon both shelled out money to sponsor a baseball exhibit now on display at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, according to the museum’s Web site. Questions have arisen over whether Cohen’s recent legal woes might force him to sell his minority stake in the Mets. After all, the baseball empire was recently burned by its ties to Bernard Madoff, another troubled hedge-fund manager. But Cohen and Wilpon’s names are at the top of the lineup card of sponsors on display at the exhibit, titled “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American” — suggesting there’s a kindred spirit. [NYP]
Shortly after their team’s last pennant, Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz had what proved to be a prescient idea: In spite of his genius, perhaps they should not entrust every dime they had to Bernie Madoff. You might call this good luck. You might call it only marginally fortunate, since the Mets family saw about 700 million fake dollars disappear one day in December 2008. You might, if you were named Irving Picard, call it indisputable evidence that Wilpon and Katz were in cahoots with the biggest fraudster of all time.
In any event, Wilpon and Katz kicked a few bucks to McKinsey vet Peter Stamos to start a hedge fund, which is more or less the only reason they still have any bucks to not spend on competent baseball players. Now, however, Stamos desires to sow his oats unencumbered by any grandfatherly baseball owners. Or by Bank of America, for that matter, which is fortunate, because Bank of America has bigger things to deal with than its non-voting stake in a $6.6 billion hedge fund. Read more »
Convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff was “desperately disappointed” that the owners of the Mets chose to settle the fraud lawsuit brought on behalf of victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, CBS News reported Wednesday. “He wrote me last weekend that he was so looking forward to that trial,” said Diane Henriques, author of the book “Wizard of Lies” which detailed Madoff’s fraud. “He was hoping that the Mets’ defense would make the case he was making to me that they had no reason to doubt Madoff.” The trustee for Madoff’s victims, Irving Picard, was set to argue at trial that Mets owner Fred Wilpon, once a friend of Madoff and a longtime investor, was willfully blind and chose to ignore signs that Madoff was producing fraudulent returns. Henriques told CBS that in recent emails from prison Madoff blasted Picard, who was seeking more than $300 million at trial. “He calls Picard a fool, an amateur, says he doesn’t understand the market, says he never understood the market, that he’s just lost on Wall Street,” Henriques said. [NYP]
Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax may testify for the owners of New York Mets at a civil trial accusing them of turning a blind eye to Bernard Madoff’s epic fraud. … According to the Mets owners, Koufax opened a Madoff account at Wilpon’s suggestion, and has been a lifelong friend of Wilpon, with whom he played high school baseball in Brooklyn, New York. “It strains credulity to think that Mr. Wilpon would expose his oldest and closest friend to potential financial ruin” by letting him invest with Madoff, if he knew Madoff was a fraud, the Mets owners said.
“Having an opportunity to become part of the Mets franchise is exciting beyond my wildest childhood dreams. I spent my first seven years living in New Jersey and rooting for the Mets. In 1975, I even dressed in a homemade jersey as a Met for Halloween. I have been a baseball fan for my entire life and have enjoyed teaching the game as the coach of my daughter’s little league team. I look forward to partnering with the Wilpon and Katz families through the good seasons, the tough seasons and especially the championship seasons.”
Bernie Madoff Is Fairly Confident His Friends/Investors Will Forgive Him, If They Can Get Over ThemselvesBy Bess Levin
For the latest issue of the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin explores the relationship between Bernie Madoff and Fred Wilpon, chairman and chief executive of the Mets and a victim of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which resulted in Wilpon (and the baseball team) getting, how to put this? Fucked. As his new project while in the joint is getting people to remember his legacy and talk about all the great stuff he did prior to one blip on an otherwise tremendous career, Berns picked up where he left off with New York reporter Steve Fishman, to whom he griped in February:
“Does anybody want to hear that I had a successful business and did all these wonderful things for the industry? And got all these awards? And so did my family? I did all of this during the legitimate years. No. You don’t read any of that.”
Here’s what he had to say this time around: Read more »