- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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I believe the Mets denied on Saturday night the ESPNNewYork.com report about the path for David Einhorn to reach majority ownership -- although they actually did not say specifically the reports to which they were referring, so perhaps they're just playing word games. The team stated:
"While we have entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Mr. Einhorn, there is uninformed speculation regarding terms of a potential deal. The details of the actual negotiations are strictly confidential."
So let's take a look at previous statements ...
Dec. 18, 2008, as reported by Peter Botte in the Daily News
Jeff Wilpon admits he and his father, Mets owner Fred Wilpon, were "completely blindsided" in losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the $50 billion securities fraud scandal allegedly perpetrated by longtime family friend and business associate Bernard Madoff. But Jeff Wilpon insisted yesterday that those substantial losses will "not at all" affect the Mets or any of their related businesses as they move into their new stadium in 2009.
"It's not what we believe, it's that we know what our financial position is," Wilpon said after new closer Francisco Rodriguez was introduced at a press conference at the Citi Building in Long Island City. "The individual partners lost some money at Madoff. But it doesn't affect the Mets. It doesn't affect the Citi Field project. It doesn't affect SNY or any of our operating businesses.
"How is that possible? We have other money. Just because you guys don't know how much money we have, we have other money and other funds outside of [the Mets]. It's called diversification."
Sept. 2, 2009, as reported by David Lennon in Newsday
In a Monday night appearance on the Fox Business channel, the Mets' executive vice president of business operations, Dave Howard, pointedly debated Erin Arvedlund, the author who claimed last week that the Wilpons will have to sell the team because of a $700-million loss in the Bernie Madoff scandal.
Arvedlund, who wrote the recently released book on Madoff, "Too Good to Be True," repeatedly insisted that it is "her opinion" the Wilpons will have to sell at least part of the Mets to cover their losses. But Howard, his temper apparently rising, vehemently disagreed, calling her claims "outrageous, unfounded and grossly irresponsible."
"The figures she's thrown out are inaccurate and substantially overstated," Howard said during the interview. "We have said from the outset that the losses incurred from the Madoff fraud have not and will not affect the operation of the Mets. The team is not for sale - whole or in part. It is family owned and it will be family owned for the long term.
"It's a passionate long-term investment. There's no need to sell. There's no reason to sell. There will be no sale and I can't state it any more definitively than that. Her source is bogus and her claims are false and irresponsible."
Arvedlund's response? "Time will tell," she said.