From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET
NEW YORK METS: Judge Tells Wilpon to Step Up to the Plate and Deliver.
The Saul B. Katz Dilemma is now a serious problem. For the second time, a judge has issued Fred Wilpon a major setback. First, a judge ruled to expose the Wilpons to a sum of up to $83 million dollars in questionable profits as part of any settlement or outcome. In the latest development, instead of putting the onus on Irving Picard to convince a jury the Wilpons knowingly withdrew illegal profits from Bernie Madoff's ponzi-scheme, in a pre-trial ruling, a judge placed the burden of proof on the Wilpons to prove they weren't willfully pocketing ill-gained returns from a crook. It's not the ruling Fred Wilpon was hoping for. However his big chance to prove himself begins on March 19th.
He'll now be relying more than ever on his old friend; Sandy Koufax, who also lost money to Madoff; as a character witness. Irving Picard is opposed to Koufax testifying on Fred Wilpon's behalf arguing the Hall of Fame pitcher is a ploy to influence the jury. To that I say - Of course he is! This just tells me we're about to enter the world of the absurd. And what I mean by that is, I have a sense all the testimony we'll hear, will come off as comical. When corrupt CEO's (Enron, MCI, etc..) get caught, and subsequently grilled, they always sound unabashedly and unashamedly naive: just like Bill Clinton sounded when he got embroiled in his mess. And that's not a joke either. It's just that for the rest of us jaded hard working people in life, "they" always manage to insult out intelligence as well.
Of course, this is purely speculative and wholly opinion on my part. But I will also add, I believe the Wilpons have a monumental task ahead of them and not because of any financial reasons and not because I think they might be crooks or something insidious like that. We do know this much - the Wilpons have never been forthright with us; the fans; regarding the financial health of the club, or ownership's ability to afford it's daily operations since the scandal broke. We know this because we've experienced it. Meanwhile, all we've been told as recently as this off-season, is that all is well.
When it comes to the fans, over the last two years, all the leaked information and reported evidence points to the Wilpon's lack of openness and fair disclosure concerning ownership's plight. Their plight, is in effect, our plight. Had they taken a different tact with the paying public, perhaps they'd have more sympathy from them today. But we relied on those news leaks for information because our owner withheld what he knew over a considerable period of time. Thus a symbiotic relationship; this particular one between owner and fan; deserved more respect than the fan received. Opening Day will be here shortly. And in the 50th Anniversary season of the Mets, the owner/fan relationship is unceremoniously compromised.
Fred Wilpon will now have to convince a jury he's telling the truth about those steady and healthy investment returns it was the Family's good fortune to reap. Maybe what we don't know won't hurt us, and that was Mr. Wilpon's concern all along?
Good luck with that.