So far, there have been two types of terrible owners that have been covered. There's the weak owner(s) (Howard Lincoln and First Avenue Entertainment) and the egotistical owner (James Dolan). Now let's take a look at the other type of bad ownership: the corrupt owner. Now, every owner has been involved in some shady deals, starting with a mere taking of public money. But some go beyond that.
The first owner that easily comes to mind when talking about corrupt ownership is Fred Wilpon of the New York Mets. Well known for being heavily involved the infamous Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff (the largest in U.S. history), Wilpon tied 16 Madoff accounts to the Mets. Overall, Wilpon and his company, Sterling Equities, had 500 accounts tied to Madoff, with 483 being from Sterling Equities. With Sterling Equities, Wilpon invested $3 million into the Ponzi scheme.
That's not all, though. Wilpon and Madoff lived in the same city (Rosalyn, New York) and supported each other throughout their various philanthropic endeavors. With the aforementioned 16 accounts, cash flow for day-to-day operations were paid out through these Madoff accounts. That meant that Wilpon could spend a near-endless supply of money if he desired. He even got Sandy Koufax involved in the Ponzi scheme!
Perhaps the most infamous part of the Ponzi scheme was the Bobby Bonilla contract. In 2001, the Mets decided to pay Bonilla $1.2 million for the next 25 years (starting on July 1, 2011) instead of paying him $5.9 million. This included 8% interest with the goal being to make double digit returns on the return. Ultimately, it didn't, which makes the contract look bad. Granted, not all deferred contracts are bad. However, contracts like this that are paid with dirty money aren't exactly the best contracts.
Other examples of corrupt ownership includes Jimmy Haslam of the Cleveland Browns (his aviation company got into some legal trouble) and Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans has been involved in predatory lending practices). However, none will compare to the magnitude of being involved in the biggest financial scandal in the history of the United States the way Fred Wilpon has. To add insult to injury, Wilpon has put his team $300 million into debt and has even stated that the Mets are losing money. Not the best look for a team trying to compete with the New York Yankees for the baseball dollar in New York.
Sports fans don't like to be screwed over in the pocket book. More often than not, this is the case. It doesn't help when the owner of their favorite team gets involved in a financial scandal as big as the Ponzi scheme. Such is the case of being a Mets fan under the Fred Wilpon regime.
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