NEW YORK – Donald Trump is thinking about investing in the New York Mets.
The New York real estate owner with a flair for publicity said Tuesday he wants to help Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Wilpon is under pressure from a lawsuit from the trustee trying to recover money for the victims of the Bernard Madoff swindle.
"I hope that it works out well for the Wilpons because they're friends of mine," Trump said Tuesday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "If they ever needed help, I'd be there to help them. If I could help, I'd love to help them."
Trump's interest was first reported by The New York Times on its Web site.
A frequent guest in the owners' box at Yankee Stadium, Trump owned the New Jersey Generals of the U.S. Football League during the 1984 and 1985 seasons.
Fred Wilpon, the Mets' controlling owner, announced Jan. 28 along with his son, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, they were exploring a sale of a share of up to 25 percent because of "uncertainty" created by the lawsuit filed by trustee Irving Picard.
The Wilpons said they will not sell a controlling stake, and Trump isn't known to be a passive investor.
"That's been the rumor," he said.
Asked whether he would consider investing without gaining control, Trump responded: "I haven't thought that far down the line. We'll see what happens."
Major League Baseball has rules against casino ownership by its team owners, which could prove an impediment if Trump chooses to make a deal with the Wilpons.
"If I can help, great," Trump said. "And it not, that would be OK.
In a suit filed Dec. 7 in U.S. Bankrupcy Court in Manhattan, Picard said the Mets' owners, including team president — and Fred Wilpon brother-in-law — Saul Katz, turned a blind eye to Madoff's fraud and reaped about $300 million in false profits. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo was appointed last week to mediate the dispute.