It’s July 1, which for New York Mets fans means it’s Bobby Bonilla Day.
Former slugger retired in 2001 with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he cashed a check nearly $1.2 million from the Mets every July 1 for more than a decade.
The deal is part of a contract brokered by Bonilla’s agent, Dennis Gilbert, who will pay Bonilla $1,193,248.20 each year through 2035. Bonilla, a former All-Star who last played time with the Mets in 1999, will be 72 when his contract with the team expires. .
How was Gilbert able to get such a great deal for his client? They can both thank disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
The Mets wanted to part ways with Bonilla in 1999, but he had $6 million left on his contract. Wilpon believed he was getting a huge return on his investments from Madoff, but the Mets owner turned out to be a victim of Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme.
Instead of paying Bonilla directly, Wilpon opted to defer payments so the money could be unwittingly invested in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
Gilbert negotiated with the team to defer payments until 2011, with an annual interest rate of 8%.
Madoff was the mastermind of the most notorious Ponzi scheme in history. A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that uses funds from newer investors to pay out profits to past investors, tricking them into believing their investments are part of a successful business.
Madoff is serving 150 years in prison for the multi-billion dollar scheme he ran for decades.
In total, Bonilla will walk away with a salary of $29.8 million because of Wilpon’s blunder.
cnn Sport Gt