Fred Wilpon, the beleaguered owner of the Mets, spoke to the media in Port St. Lucie today and emphatically said people should stop worrying about the pesky Bernard Madoff-related lawsuit that demands that he and Saul Katz pay over $300 million, "There shouldn't be concern about us owning the franchise…Whether (fans) are happy about that right now or not, I don't know. As long as I can, I plan to be the owner here."
He explained, "When I said two years ago that the Mets weren't affected by the Madoff thing, I was telling the truth, because we weren't (being) sued then. This was prior to the suit. Did it affect it? Sure. It's been a motion picture. But there was a point when the suit was almost three times what it is now, so it seems to be going hopefully in the right direction." The case is scheduled to go to trial on March 19.
In other news, the Mets hope to sell 12 minority shares, at $20 million each, of the team to raise some money; two of the shares are to members of the Wilpon family and four are to SNY, the sports cable network. Wilpon also addressed reducing the team's payroll to $90 million from $140 million: "I was tired of throwing money at something and not getting success. We cut a lot of payroll that wasn’t producing. If you look at the payroll now, it’s fluid. Many of the people that were not producing are not here.”