(above : former baseball executive, former baseball player)
“How does Bernie (Madoff) do it?” wondered a Mets employee upon being wooed with promises of 18 percent returns on investments, only to be assured by Mets owner Fred Wilpon and colleague Saul Katz, “he’s smarter than everyone else.” Smarter than former GM Frank Cashen, anyway, who claims his deferred salary was placed in Madoff’s hands (“to me, they operated in unison”). In what might be one of the more damning published items on the Mets’ relationship with the convicted Ponzi schemer, the New York Times’ Serge F. Kovaleski and David Waldstein claim “the role Mr. Madoff played in the financial life of the ball club and the Wilpon and Katz families was pervasive.”
“I remember vividly Madoff’s name being brought up a lot when” the team “would negotiate contracts, particularly with deferments,” said the former executive, who would not be identified because he did not want to harm his career in baseball. “That money would be turned over to Madoff.
“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.”
The former employees of the Mets said substantial aspects of the club’s financial operations seemed to flow through, or wind up with, Mr. Madoff — annuities set up for players, cash generated by sponsorship deals, and more. The team regularly discussed investing deferred money from long-term player contracts in Madoff accounts. Bobby Bonilla was among the players who had their deferred money put with Mr. Madoff, one former employee said.
“Former executive who did not want to harm his career in baseball” sounds much better than “Not Steve Phillips”.