One thing that has seemed to plague the New York Mets for the last few years is financial problems. The team's owner, Fred Wilpon, was caught up in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme and reportedly lost millions of dollars to the scheme. Since the scheme has unraveled, the team's finances have been shrouded in mystery as the Mets payroll has plummeted from a high of 140 million dollars in 2010 to 85 million dollars this season. While some were hoping the pile of debt would force the Wilpons to sell the team, the Mets' owners have been very creative at finding solutions to retain ownership of their club.
Whether it was selling minority shares to investors such as Bill Maher or borrowing money from Major League Baseball, the Wilpons managed to keep the loan sharks at bay for the last few years. Wilpon faced some problems this spring, however, as a 250 million dollar loan was scheduled to come due. The Wilpons' ability to turn around the team's financial situation has led to a re-financing of this 250 million dollar loan, Josh Kosman of the New York Post reports. As part of the settlement, Wilpon will not have to make an up front payment on the loan or see increased interest payments. The re-financing will spread out loan payments over the next seven years, but it will come at a bit of a cost.
The loan conditions prohibit the Mets from going a massive salary binge in any one offseason. The Mets have already increased their payroll to 85 million dollars this winter, a far cry from the team's 140 million dollar payroll in 2010. The Mets are, however, expected to see their payroll to continue to increase slightly over the next few years according to team insiders. While it is bad news for fans who wanted a change in ownership, the Mets at least appear to have some light at the end of the tunnel in a financial sense.
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