Year after year it seems the New York Mets face another scandal, demise or any other applicable embarrassment. This latest debacle involving the Madoff scandal is no different. Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon emphatically said Wednesday that his family will maintain majority ownership of the team, despite facing a $1 billion lawsuit from the trustee trying to recover funds for victims of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. “We’re not selling controlling interest of the team,” Wilpon said inside the team’s spring training facility. “It’s not on the table.” But, should it be? The Mets have the third highest payroll in baseball and are coming off two recent collapses and two miserable injury-marred losing seasons. While they do have $66 million coming off the books at the end of this year, there is not much promise in sight as the 2011 season already seems like a wash.
The Mets did start a reorganization of sorts by changing the culture of the club with instituting the well-respected Sandy Alderson, J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta. One thing for certain with this new Mets executive staff is that they will most likely not be in the headlines for many scandals. Here’s to hoping that starts a trickle effect within the organization.
However, the looming issue remains as to what the Mets should do in order to stay solvent in light of the lawsuit facing them. Wilpon has asserted that the Mets business will not be affected greatly by the Madoff scandal, despite differing feelings from the players (i.e., David Wright) and the recent announcement of the potential need to sell 20 to 25 percent of the team to raise funds for any potential settlement. While Madoff has also recently declared that the Mets knew nothing of the scandal and were innocent victims, the Mets problems are not going to go away as the lawsuit proceeds.
Nevertheless, the Mets maintain their stance of complete innocence in the Madoff scandal. While the Wilpons have yet to file court papers in response to the allegations against them, they have strictly and broadly denied any wrongdoing or complicity in the scandal. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has been appointed a mediator in the dispute, but Wilpon sounded as though the only way of winning this legal battle will be to have a complete vindication of the Wilpon family. When asked what “vindication” meant to the Mets, Wilpon stated he did not know the law well enough to comment. “It’s possible, even if the Wilpons could not reasonably have known that Madoff was a fraud, that they could be liable for $300 million in what are alleged to be “fictitious profits” — money withdrawn over principal from certain accounts — in order for victims who lost principal to be made more whole. Wilpon clarified his comments by stating, “By vindication, I mean, No. 1, that everyone will know that we had nothing to do with it,” Wilpon said. “We didn’t know anything about it. And we were duped. Beyond that, I don’t know how the law comes out. The law seems to be very much in our favor.” Here’s to hoping for the Mets sake and future of the organization that the law actually does.
Posted in Jason Steiner
Tagged Bernie Madoff, David Wright, Jeff Wilpon, Lawsuit, Madoff, Mets, MLB, New York Mets, ownership, ponzi scheme, profit, Sandy Alderson, scandal
On a day when most of us are nursing off a hangover from the Packers’ Super Bowl win Sunday, Darrell Williams has that I’m going to puke feeling for quite another reason. The Payne County District Attorney’s office in Oklahoma filed felony charges against the Oklahoma State starting forward Monday morning which include one felony count of sexual battery and three felony counts of rape by instrumentation. A rape charge can carry up to 15 years in prison and the sexual battery charge carries up to 10 years in prison. Williams plead not guilty to all 4 charges before being taken to the Payne County jail where he was released on a $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to be back in court on March 7th for a preliminary hearing.
Williams is in his first year at OSU after transferring from Midland. He is a junior on the Oklahoma State Cowboy’s basketball team, averaging 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. He can now add 4 felony charges to his stats sheet. The rape and sexual battery allegedly occured on December 13th in Stillwater, Oklahoma at a house party near the university. Assistant coach Chris Ferguson substituted for head coach Travis Ford in the Big 12 conference call Monday and claims he was unaware of the charges against Williams. Williams is accused of raping 2 women at a private residence near the OSU campus in December 2010. The incident has been under investigation by Stillwater police since early December when they received an anonymous letter claiming there was a sexual assault at a party.
According to the affidavit filed by Stillwater police we could have another Duke Lacrosse-like scandal on our hands. (For those of you who don’t read the news, 3 Duke lacrosse players were accused of raping an exotic dancer they had hired in 2006. While the charges were ultimately dropped the 3 players still had to endure public scrutiny and the fear of being charged with felonies.) One of the 2 women reported Williams groped her, took her to the backyard of the residence where the party was to help her look for her missing money and id and then proceeded to become more forceful, putting his hands down her pants and underwear. The other woman reported being sexually assulted by several members of the OSU basketball team but could only identify Williams and one other man who is not on the team in a photo lineup. While 6 players on the basketball team have been questioned, charges have only been brought against Williams at this time.
OSU released a statement Monday afternoon in which head coach Travis Ford said Williams will not be travelling or playing with the Cowboys while he is facing charges. Unfortunately for Williams the suspension from the team comes right after being named the Big 12′s newcomer of the week after leading the Cowboys to back-to-back wins over Missouri and Oklahoma. With March Madness only a month away, Williams college hoop dreams just may be cut short.
Which brings me to my reoccuring opinion whenever rape charges are brought against college and professional athletes……. REALLY???!!!! Williams plays basketball in the Big 12, at a school where athletes are treated like Gods. I am sure he can find a girl who is willing to partake in sexual activities with him. Is someone who started 12 of the last 23 games really that desperate that he has to rape someone instead of finding one of the thousands of girls who would be willing to do just about anything to be with a basketball or football player? Obviously if the charges are true I 100% support the 2 woman in this case but more often than not the charges get dropped and a fame hungry girl is exposed. In Williams’ case he will most likely not be able to compete for the rest of the season and his college career may be over for good. As a junior who transferred from Midland this year, he is already in at least his 3rd of his 5 years of NCAA eligibility. By the time the case has gone to trial he will be in his 4th or 5th year of eligibility, making his basketball career as good as done even with a verdict of not-guilty. I will eagerly be awaiting the outcome in this case. If the allegations turn out to be false I truly hope the NCAA makes sure Williams’ college basketball career is not ruined in the process. If the allegations turn out to be true, OSU really needs to get their student athletes some counseling…
Posted in Crystal Knysh
Tagged Basketball, big 12, Chris Ferguson, College, cowboys, Darrell Williams, district attorney, duke, eligibility, felony charges, forward, grope, Lacrosse, March Madness, NCAA, oklahoma, oklahoma state, OSU, packers, payne county, points, rape, rebounds, scandal, sexual assault, sexual battery, starter, super bowl, Travis Ford
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