How Close Were Madoff and the Mets?

Former Mets G.M. says he heard Madoff's name once a week

It's old news by now that Fred Wilpon, owner of the Mets, lost hundreds of millions of his own and corporate monies through his investments with Bernard Madoff. Wilpon's name was listed on Madoff's client list 22 times, which raised the question of how much of an effect the losses will have on the day-to-day operations of the Mets.

Some help answering the question has come from an unusual source. Former Mets general manager Steve Phillips, who worked for the Mets for 13 years, recently told CNBC's Darren Rovell about how much Madoff was discussed around the Mets.

"I heard Bernie Madoff's name once a week every week for 13 years," said Phillips. "He was that close of friends and had a relationship with the Wilpons."

Wilpon has been adamant in his assertions that the Madoff mess won't hurt the Mets' bottom line, but Phillips' comments offer some shades of grey into that view. Guys who are looking for Dominican shortstops and scouting college lefties don't tend to have conversations about investment strategies with the boss, which would lead you to believe that the financial health of the Mets wasn't totally unrelated to the health of Wilpon's investments with Madoff.

Whether or not the losses will impact the Mets down the road, Phillips' comments offer some insight into how Madoff was able to get away with his scheme for so long. His investors felt privileged to be allowed to give him money, to the point where they bragged about it to their employees, and that pride blinded them to question the unbelievable information Madoff was giving them about how their money was doing in the market.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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