Via the always-reliable, never sensational Star-Ledger, we have a very damning piece of news from the AP:
According to documents, the Mets tried to insure their Wilpon holdings as far back as 2001. Prudent? Sure. Criminal? Absolutely not.
But there’s more.
Apparently court records recount a document on which Sterling partner Arthur Friedman wrote that the policy should cover “fraud or fidelity” and went so far as to write the word “Ponzi” in parentheses.
There have been many stories regarding the repeated warnings the Wilpons supposedly received regarding the seemingly impossible returns Madoff was providing.
This news raises their awareness to another level. If they were considering insuring themselves against a “Ponzi” situation, they can no longer argue that they had no idea of wrongdoing; they may have actually strongly suspected precisely what was going on as long as a decade ago.
And in the early to middle part of that decade, they were withdrawing operating funds to run the team from Madoff and using the same Madoff accounts they suspected of being the result of a Ponzi scheme or fraud to gain financing for the building of Citi Field. More and more a case can be made that the entire Wilpon Era of the Mets may have been built on fraud.
This may still get uglier if this is true and if there is more evidence like this to come.