Somehow, some way, long after Bernard Madoff began his 150-year prison sentence, the Mets are still being made to look foolish with their money.
Apparently, the Mets owners touted investing with the mega-Ponzi schemer as a major perk to free agent targets. Mets icons, such as former GM Frank Cashen and Bronx tour guide Bobby Bonilla, invested with Madoff.
Says a former team executive in the Times:
"And as part of friends and family of the Mets, they offered people the opportunity to invest in Bernie. There was talk about Bernie averaging like 15 percent for the Wilpons. It just seemed too good to be true, but then you think the owner has vetted it."
Oh, but it gets better:
"There was always Fred Wilpon," said Eleanor Squillari, Mr. Madoff's longtime secretary.
Another former [Mets] employee said he was offered a chance to invest with Mr. Madoff by Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz. He said he asked them, "How does Bernie do it?"
"He's smarter than everyone else," he said he was told. "I remember hearing the conversations about how Bernie returned 18 percent. And the answer was that he was a very smart guy who was creative and knows where to make plays. Fred was expressing admiration for Bernie."
"Very smart guy who was creative and knows where to make plays" — isn't this how Omar Minaya spent the past two years describing Alex Cora?
The whole story (NYT put five reporters on the case) is worth reading, if only because it shows how the Mets were doing the large-scale equivalent of investing money with Nigerian princes. It seems the Wilpons were terribly naive, at least as far as real estate billionaires go. Fred alone had 17 Madoff accounts under his name.
To think, the Mets probably should have invested with Mo Vaughn.