It’s that time of year again. July 1st. When Bobby Bonilla wakes up and finds a $1.19 million deposit in his account from the New York Mets for payment as their outfielder. This will continue until 2035. Bonilla hasn’t put on a Mets uniform since 1999. Let’s dive into what has to be one of the greatest player friendly buyout contracts in the history of pro sports.
In 2000, the Mets agreed to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on Bonilla’s contract. Mets ownership at the time was involved with an investment opportunity and felt that $5.9 million would be better served in the hands of the market vs Bonilla. So they made Bonilla a proposal, allow the buyout to be deferred into annual payments of $1.19 million beginning in 2011 to end in 2035 for a total payout of just shy of $30 million. The thought behind this was they would earn a greater return using the $5.9 million today that would warrant deferring Bonilla’s contract.
One big problem….. The investor promising the double-digit returns was Bernie Madoff
In one of the largest Ponzi schemes in US history, Madoff plead guilty to 11 federal felonies for defrauding his clients of almost $65 billion.
Mets ownership now finds itself in the position of being out $5.9 million to the Madoff investment scheme and will now be paying Bonilla $1.19 million a year from 2011 til 2035.