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New York Mets, Facing Losses in 2011, Cut Front-Office Staff

Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Mets, who may lose as much as $70 million this year, pared their front-office staff, the Major League Baseball team said.

“Several weeks ago, we made work-force reductions in both baseball and business-operations departments, which amounted to less than 10 percent of our full-time staff,” the team said last night in an e-mail. The cuts represent about 15 people from the Mets’ 180-member front office, the New York Times said.

The cash-strapped Mets are engaged in a court battle with the trustee in charge of recovering money for investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Trustee Irving Picard is trying to recoup as much as $386 million from the Mets owners who he says profited by $1 billion.

Owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon offered to sell a minority stake in the team because of the Madoff lawsuit. David Einhorn, the manager of New York’s $7.8 billion Greenlight Capital Inc. hedge fund, had offered $200 million for a 33 percent interest in the club before he withdrew, saying the deal had become too complicated.

At the same time, the team still owes the league $25 million that it borrowed last year to cover a cash shortage. During last month’s World Series, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters the Mets were seeking “an alternative financing plan, and they seem to be very encouraged, and I’m encouraged,” according to the New York Times.

The team lost $51 million last year, according to Fred Wilpon.

The Mets cut ticket prices for next season after the team had a losing record and fewer spectators for the third straight season. The Mets have cut prices for three consecutive years at the $850 million Citi Field. Game-day attendances have dropped 26 percent since 2009 to 2.35 million people in 2011.

In February, the team pared its ticket office, according to the Times.

The Mets went 77-85 this year to finish fourth in the five-team National League East division, 25 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets haven’t reached the postseason since 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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