Will the Mets ever be anything but an incorporated facepalm of a team? The latest addition to the team's ever-growing portfolio of pathetic missteps comes courtesy of The New York Times, which points out today that one of the team's new minority owners is allegedly little more than a flowery scam artist.
You may recall that, when the Mets' efforts to sell the team to David Einhorn fell through, the Wilpons decided to raise some capital by selling minority shares in the team to friends and family. We now know that one of those friends was James F. McCann, the founder and CEO of 1-800 Flowers and a man who twice has been accused of defrauding his customers. From the Times:
In March 2012, a group of online retailers was sued in federal court, accused of having participated in a cynical and longstanding scheme to cheat customers out of millions of dollars. One of the named defendants is 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., which says it is the world's leading florist and gift shop.
The plaintiffs said the system worked this way: a customer, perhaps racing to buy flowers online for Mother's Day, would enter a credit card number, click "Purchase," and then be offered a cash-back rebate. If the customer clicked on the rebate option and failed to read the fine print, however, he or she wound up registering for a near-worthless club membership that would charge the credit card for months, sometimes years, before the expenses on the credit card statements were detected. Outfits like 1-800-Flowers.com received a cut of the operation, what regulators and others have called "bounties."
A recent legal filing by lawyers in the case asserted that "1-800-Flowers was well aware that its customers were getting defrauded."
The Times also points out the fact that 1-800-Flowers was accused of the same thing in a lawsuit filed in Long Island two years ago. What's more, according to a Senate investigation, 1-800 Flowers opened itself up to a third-party company that used 1-800-Flowers.com to lure visitors into signing up for "useless" memberships. For this privilege, 1-800 Flowers received at least $10 million.
The entire piece is worth a read, unless you're a Mets fan. In which case you might just want to go stare at your R.A. Dickey bobblehead for a while.