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Report: Real Estate Fund Run By Mets Owners Was $300M In The Red Last Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The owners of the New York Mets are reportedly dealing with more financial woes.

According to a report by Deadspin, a fund operated by Fred Wilpon's private real estate equity firm, Sterling American Property Inc., was nearly $325 million in the red as of last summer.

The firm is also run by Michael Katz, the brother-in-law of Mets president and minority owner Saul Katz.

The $497 million fund -- which includes $150 million of Sterling's own money -- was down to just $173.25 million in cash and investments as of June 2015, Deadspin reported. A real estate private equity fund usually has a life cycle of about 10 years. The fund, called SAP V, started in 2006.

The Wilpons built their fortune in the real estate industry beginning in the 1970s. According to Deadspin, Sterling started its first private equity fund, SAP I, in 1991, and added a new one every few years after that. The first four funds were all successful.

Sterling responded to the report Thursday.

"Contrary to what has been reported, SAP V has already returned over 40% of its investors' capital and Sterling Equities anticipates that SAP V will be a profitable investment for all of its partners," a spokesperson said, The Real Deal reported.

The Deadspin report did concede its possible the value of SAP V could have increased since last June, but it noted that Sterling's website hasn't touted that fund in the same way it has others.

Of course, the Mets' owners are no strangers to financial problems. They lost $550 million in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme and had to pay $80 million to settle a lawsuit alleging they were involved in the scheme. Major League Baseball then loaned the Mets $25 million in 2011 to close a cash shortfall.

As a result, the Mets slashed payroll after Madoff's December 2008 arrest, leading to six straight losing seasons before the team broke through with a trip to the World Series last year.

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