- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Days after the New York Mets acknowledged obtaining a loan from Major League Baseball to address liquidity issues, the team's embattled owners are desperately searching for another bank loan to cover basic operating expenses, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.
MLB and the ballclub are "exerting strong pressure" on JPMorgan to provide additional money until a minority ownership partner can be secured to infuse cash, the Post reported. Reports indicate the Mets already have $430 million in bank loans, plus the $25 million borrowed in November and another $50 million previously borrowed from MLB.
Principal owner Fred Wilpon and his family also are defendants in a $1 billion lawsuit brought by the trustee trying to recover funds for victims of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
Wilpon announced his intention to sell 20 to 25 percent of the ballclub to raise cash. Steve Greenberg, hired by the family to locate a minority partner, since has said a higher percentage could be sold, but not a controlling interest.
Mets owners have said they are pursuing avenues of raising money beyond selling a portion of the team, and trying to secure an additional lone is one avenue to achieve that.
The Post quoted one source saying JPMorgan "believe[s] the Mets still have a capacity to borrow," despite their existing debt load and the pending litigation. Another source told the newspaper: "Are you kidding me? You don't lend into a distressed situation. This is a very risky loan."
JPMorgan is also being sued by Irving Picard, the trustee for Madoff victims, who is seeking $6.4 billion. Picard claims the institution should have known that Madoff was perpetrating fraud. The firm denies the allegations.