I think I am old enough to recognize a stricken look.
That is what I have seen on the faces of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz in the past two years. They are of my generation – although a tad more wealthy – and I think I can tell the look of two people who felt betrayed by a friend. They have seen ruin and even death up close, to people they know.
Now they have settled their case, and perhaps they and the Mets can move on. Or not. But I come to this stage still unconvinced that Wilpon and Katz “knew” Madoff was cheating.
My belief is not based on their including Sandy Koufax in the Madoff web. That’s just one small piece of it.
I have read documents filed by the trustee, listing all the accounts held by Wilpon and his brother-in-law, Katz. The accounts are in the names of Wilpons and Katzes and other people clearly related to these two partners. The next generations, living mostly in favored suburbs of New York.
Bernie Madoff would, and did, involve his flesh and blood in his evil. The sick creep gave up his wife and children and grand-children.
I have been around Wilpon and Katz over the years, not enough to say I really know them but just enough to believe that family is important enough that they would not involve children and spouses and grandchildren in something they knew to be illegal.
Were they arrogant, foolish, greedy, sloppy, hasty? Sure. Should you like or admire them? Up to you.
People who know much more about law and finances than I do say that Wilpon and Katz “had to know.” That was up to lawyers and the trustee to prove. They did not.
I’ll have more to say about the Mets in the next few days.
I just wanted to make the point about the stricken look I think I saw.
Your comments are more than welcome; they are sought.
Might just"as well get out your Ouija Board. Besides, journalism and life are a chronicle of all kinds of people - businessmen, politicians, teachers, coaches -- whoever -- do odd, sometimes even evil things which don't "fit" with their overal presentation as, say, "family men", or religiosity, or other positive traits. Stick to the facts, not the "look" on the faces of complex men near the end of complex carreers focussed on building a fortune.
3/20/2012 08:08:42 am
George, an interesting take!
3/20/2012 12:52:19 pm
This is my second comment, because I've been thinking on this "family-man-would-lead-no-one-astray" theory, and have this reaction: it's not unreasonable to portray what Wilpon has done with the Mets in the recent past - and continues to do - is a wretched violation of his duty to the NY Mets "family." If he were as focussed on these kinds of intangible virtues as you suggest, he would not have put the Mets (and their payroll) through the slaughter which has taken place just since the end of last season. And he would recognize now that, for the forseeable future he likely will not be able to put the Mets back on the solid financial footing which the Mets' family deserves. Right now, in the face of that kind of assessment, Wilpon is just plain gambling with the Mets' fate, by hoping against hope that the franchise will, sua sponte, increase in overall value sufficient to let him pay back debts and borrow more. If he felt the pull of duty and responsibility to his Mets family, therefore, he'd sell the Mets right now. But he can't, because he's so far in debt.
3/21/2012 06:59:19 am
3/21/2012 08:17:36 am
Interesting. Body language can be very revealing.
3/21/2012 12:20:00 pm
Hey, thanks for the insightful comments.
3/22/2012 09:37:12 am
Call me crazy, but here goes. One of those who was supposedly going to be called to testify, as I understand it, is Sandy Koufax, who has known Fred Wilpon since they were in high school and maybe before. He invested with Madoff at Wilpon's urging. Would Wilpon do that to a good friend like Koufax? I doubt it. And from everything I ever have read about Koufax, he is too honest to lie: I can't imagine him getting involved in something crooked.
3/24/2012 11:13:01 am
I'll go with GV's ouija board any day. Avery interesting discussion, by the way.
George FYI -- At the risk of appearing to be a crank (I'm not, I've read and respected all your stuff for years) see Peter King's excellent MMQB column this morning, in which he makes this summary statement: "If Fred Wilpon really loved the Mets, he'd sell them." Kind hits it on the head. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/peter_king/03/26/meetings/index.html#ixzz1qESSHYjx) -- Best, Bill
1/29/2013 03:44:03 am
This post is helpful with an analysis I am doing for a specific group of people. Do you have any other articles to suggest on this topic? Thanks
Comments are closed.
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.