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Mets Admit Taking $25M Loan From MLB

Fred Wilpon

Fred Wilpon (photo credit: Marc Serota/Getty Images)

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The Mets owner and several other family members were sued a few months ago over the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme that was uncovered a couple of years ago. The team foresaw some trouble related to the scheme in October and approached the MLB for help.

Hounded by a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the trustee trying to recover money for victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, the New York Mets acknowledged Friday they received a loan in November to help cover expenses.

“We said in October that we expected to have a short-term liquidity issue,” the team said in a statement. “To address this, we did receive a loan from Major League Baseball in November. Beyond that, we will not discuss the matter any further.”

The New York Times and Daily News said the loan amount was $25 million.

The trustee, Irving H. Picard, sued Mets owner Fred Wilpon, brother-in-law and team President Saul Katz and various family members and entities related to Sterling Equities, seeking at least $300 million.

Picard claimed the Mets profited with their Madoff investments and ignored warnings that his high returns might be false. Losses in the Ponzi scheme are estimated at around $20 billion.

The Wilpons have said they are victims in the scheme.

The Mets announced last month they were looking to sell a non-controlling interest in the team of 20 to 25 percent to raise several hundred million dollars. Wilpon insisted his family would remain in control of the team.

Less than two weeks ago, Moody’s Investors Service lowered its outlook on the company that operates the ballpark used by the New York Mets because of the litigation. The ratings firm cut the outlook on Queens Ballpark Co. LLC to “Negative,” but maintained its “Ba1″ rating on the company’s bonds.

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