Home U.S De Blasio could DENY Mets sale to Steve Cohen due to 2013...

De Blasio could DENY Mets sale to Steve Cohen due to 2013 fraud case


The impending $2.4 billion sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen could be jeopardized by his hedge fund’s history of securities and wire fraud.

As reported by USA Today, a clause in the team’s 2006 Citi Field lease allows the New York City Mayor to deny the sale of the team to a ‘prohibited person’ defined as ‘any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.’

Cohen has never been convicted of a crime, but his hedge fund, SAC Capital Investors, pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud in 2013, ultimately agreeing to pay $1.8 billion in fines.

Starting from last week, mayor Bill de Blasio has a 30-day window to conduct a review on the matter.

The Mayor’s office did not immediately return the Daily Mail’s request for comment, but press secretary Bill Neidhardt gave a statement to USA Today.

‘The Mayor has an obligation to the people of New York City to closely examine new leases on culturally important and incredibly valuable city-owned land,’ read the statement.

As reported by USA Today , a clause in the team's 2006 Citi Field lease allows the New York City Mayor to deny the sale of the team to a 'prohibited person' defined as 'any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.' Starting from last week, mayor Bill de Blasio has a 30-day window to conduct a review on the matter.

The impending $2.4 billion sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen could be jeopardized by his hedge fund's history of securities and wire fraud.

The impending $2.4 billion sale of the New York Mets to Steve Cohen (right) could be jeopardized by his hedge fund’s history of securities and wire fraud. As reported by USA Today, a clause in the team’s 2006 Citi Field lease allows the New York City Mayor to deny the sale of the team to a ‘prohibited person’ defined as ‘any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.’ Starting from last week, mayor Bill de Blasio (left) has a 30-day window to conduct a review on the matter

Citi Field (pictured) is built on city property, which is why Mayor de Blasio can deny the sale

Citi Field (pictured) is built on city property, which is why Mayor de Blasio can deny the sale 

Cohen has never been convicted of a crime, but his hedge fund, SAC Capital Investors, pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud in 2013, agreeing to pay $1.8 billion in fines

Cohen has never been convicted of a crime, but his hedge fund, SAC Capital Investors, pleaded guilty to securities and wire fraud in 2013, agreeing to pay $1.8 billion in fines

The Securities and Exchange Commission banned Cohen from managing outside money for two years. Traders within the company were charged with insider trading from 2011 until 2014, and a portfolio manager was convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud in 2014.

If the Mets sale is denied or held up by the Mayor’s office, the Wilpon family could begin listening to offers again.

MLB owners were scheduled to vote to approve the deal on November 17 after the ownership committee voted in favor of the sale earlier this week.

Cohen, a 64-year-old billionaire from Long Island, outbid several high-profile investors, like a group led by Alex Rodriguez and his fiancée Jennifer Lopez, as well as Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris.

Cohen had long been considered the favorite to buy the team, given his immense wealth, believed to be over $14 billion, according to Forbes, which gave the club a $2.4 billion valuation last year.

The Mets are coming off a disappointing 26-34 season in which they tied for last place in the National League East for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season

The Mets are coming off a disappointing 26-34 season in which they tied for last place in the National League East for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season

He offered $2.6 billion in late 2019, according to the New York Post. However that deal fell apart amid reported disagreements over the five-year transfer of the club to Cohen and the future role of Jeff Wilpon, the team’s COO and the son of Fred.

During the stalemate, Rodriguez and Lopez quickly added several high-profile investors to their group’s $2 billion offer, including retired NFL legends Brian Urlacher, Joe Thomas, DeMarco Murray, and two-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal, according to ESPN.

The 64-year-old billionaire from Great Neck, Long Island outbid several high-profile investors, like a group led by Alex Rodriguez (left) and his fiancée Jennifer Lopez (right), as well as Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris

The 64-year-old billionaire from Great Neck, Long Island outbid several high-profile investors, like a group led by Alex Rodriguez (left) and his fiancée Jennifer Lopez (right), as well as Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris

Cohen eventually returned to the negotiating table to eclipse the bid put forth by Rodriguez and Lopez, which reportedly included $300 million in personal funds.

He first bought into the Mets in 2012 when the team sought $20 million minority investment stakes following the collapse of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which cost the Wilpons and their companies large amounts.

Ultimately Cohen, the CEO and president of Point72 Asset Management, received 8 percent of the team for $40 million.

Cohen is believed to be the basis for actor Damian Lewis’s character on the Showtime series, ‘Billions,’ which focuses on a billionaire’s battles with a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.

He’s also one of the world’s most prominent art collectors, having once spent $141.3 million on Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Pointing Man’ sculpture.

Cohen will sit atop the team’s sixth ownership group.

The Wilpons have been criticized heavily in recent years, with fans often taking aim at their former financial relationship with convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff, as well as their reluctance to buy highly priced free agents.

Mr. Met performs during a game between the Phillies and Mets at Citi Field on April 3, 2018

Mr. Met performs during a game between the Phillies and Mets at Citi Field on April 3, 2018

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