SBD/March 7, 2011/Franchises

Mario Cuomo Says Mets Owners, Madoff Trustee Will Try Hard For Settlement

Wilpon (r), Katz will try hard to reach settlement with Madoff trustee
Former N.Y. Gov. Mario Cuomo, who is trying to broker a settlement between the trustee in the Bernie Madoff case and Mets Owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, said Friday that the two sides "will try as hard as they can to settle their legal battle," according to Anthony DeStefano of NEWSDAY. Cuomo said that a "prolonged fight in bankruptcy court over trustee Irving Picard's $1 billion lawsuit against the team owners would become a costly war of attrition." Cuomo: "Both sides agree, 'Yes we are willing to make every effort to make settlement here.'" Cuomo added that he "has talked separately to lawyers for the two sides." Cuomo said that he "hoped to have more talks" this week with attorneys from both sides "to find out what each side was willing to compromise on, if at all" (NEWSDAY, 3/5).

PIAZZA A POTENTIAL BUYER? In New Jersey, Art Stapleton reports former MLBer Mike Piazza Saturday "did not rule out taking ownership of a franchise someday," but the idea of buying a Mets stake now is "not something he lent much credence to." Piazza: "Would I be interested in possibly getting involved in a group to buy a team someday? Probably. I've been thinking about it ... but as far as anything in the forefront, nothing. Down the line, we'll see." When asked if he "has been approached to be a part of a group to purchase a stake in the Mets," Piazza said, "I can't confirm or deny that. Let's just say I've talked to some people who have interest in getting into the game. It doesn't cost anything to talk, at least not yet" (Bergen RECORD, 3/6).

FISH OR CUT BAIT: In N.Y., Joel Sherman cited two MLB execs as saying that it "would be wise for the Mets to reduce payroll dramatically; even to, say, the $70 million range as soon as the 2012 season." They "felt even a stripped-down version of the Mets still would draw no worse than two million spectators to Citi Field," and that "would allow the Mets to make money, moving banks to feel less edgy about current loans and, possibly, even consider future loans." Mets GM Sandy Alderson "already has said the plan for 2012 is to bring the payroll significantly down from the current $140 million-plus." An AL exec said, "It is time to get real. And this is the perfect time. The smart fans will get it. They understand that the talent level is not nearly good enough in the majors or the minors. They see what is happening with Madoff. A total renovation is needed" (N.Y. POST, 3/6). USA TODAY's Paul White writes, "If anything, the Mets have been guilty of overspending, not cutting corners in the face of impending doom." Alderson said, "I have been given no indication that we will be hamstrung by any financial issue" (USA TODAY, 3/7).
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