Queens native Donald Trump wants to own the Mets.
According to The New York Times, Trump contacted Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon to set up a face-to-face meeting to discuss the possibility of buying a majority stake in the club. No meeting has taken place yet.
Last month, Wilpon announced that he was putting 25 percent of the club on the market after news broke that the team could be in financial trouble. The team’s owners — Wilpon, COO/son Jeff Wilpon and team president Saul Katz – are being sued for their financial dealings with Ponzi felon Bernard Madoff and could owe as much as $300 million.
“The Wilpons are friends of mine, and I really hope it works out great for them,” Trump told The New York Times. “But if anything doesn’t work out for them, I’d be interested in the team.”
Whether Trump is a sole investor or part of a group, Major League Baseball would need to approve any deal. MLB rules prevent owners or officers of a club from owning or operating a casino, so the Times reports that Trump would have to sell his stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts, which has a minority interest in three Atlantic City casinos.
Other potential buyers for the Mets include Mike Repole, co-founder of Glaceau (makers of Vitaminwater and Smartwater and sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in May 2007), as well as unnamed bankers and hedge fund managers.
The Mets were valued at $858 million in 2010, and the team has brought in Steve Greenburg, Allen & Company’s managing director, to handle any possible sale.