Former New York Mets player Bobby Bonilla is getting paid $1.19 million every July 1 until 2035 by the team. The Mets made the agreement with Bonilla as he was nearing retirement almost 15 years ago. The annual payments began in 2011.
Bobby Bonilla is one lucky retired Major League Baseball player.
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According to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, the New York Mets, Bonilla's former team, agreed to a buyout which pays him $1,193, 248.20 every year on July 1 beginning in 2011 and ending in 2035.
At the time of the agreement, the Mets owed Bonilla $5.9 million.
Rubin stresses "the agreement called for deferred payments at an eight percent annual interest rate." Back then, the Mets did not mind the interest rate as their investments with former stockbroker, investment advisor and stockbroker Bernie Madoff were bringing in a lot of profit.
Bonilla making money off the Mets from his annual July 1 payment is just half the story.
A 2013 CBSSports.com report (via ESPN New York) revealed Bonilla is receiving a separate payment covering a 25-year period which ends in 2028. Both the Mets and Baltimore Orioles are responsible for that payment amounting to $500,000 per year.
New York pays a bit more than half of that sum. The said payment is traced back to Bonilla's days with the Mets, per CBS Sports.
CelebrityNetWorth.com's Brian Warner reported last year Bonilla signed a five-year, $29 million deal in 1991. That made him the highest-paid baseball player at the time.
After Bonilla suffered through a dismal 1999 MLB season with the Mets when he hit just 1.60 with just four home runs and 18 RBIs, he and his agents worked on a compromise: The Mets would let him go so he could play for another team and then put off the $5.9 million they owed him for another 11 years plus interest, per Warner.
That sum together with the said interest amounted to $29.8 million, which is broken down to the $1.192 million sum he's being paid until 2035, per CelebrityNetWorth.com.
Warner notes Bonilla was already 48 years old and way past his prime when he received his first payment from the Mets in 2011. At that point, it had been a decade since he last played in the majors.
When real estate mogul Fred Wilpon purchased the Mets in 1986, he paid a 50 percent downpayment. He settled the remaining half 16 years later for $135 million, per Warner.
Wilpon also happened to invest in Madoff's Ponzi scheme hedge fund, which collapsed in Dec. 2008. Prior to that, the fund was yielding a sizeable profit. This made Wilpon he can afford to defer the amount he owed to Bonilla, confident he can make roughly $60-70 million while investing with Madoff, per CelebrityNetWorth.com.
Unfortunately, the investment fun Wilpon put his faith in was actually a mere Ponzi scheme which resulted in Madoff's clients losing an amount between $20 billion and $65 billion.
Wilpon thought he made $300 million but actually lost around $700 million. Mired in debt, Wilpon almost sold the Mets to billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn in 2011, per Warner.
The CelebrityNetWorth.com update says Wilpon was fortunate to cover that debt by way of loans from the National Football League and Bank of America.
Bonilla amassed 2,010 hits, 287 home runs and 1,173 RBIs in 2,113 career regular-season games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, the then-Florida Marlins, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, per ESPN stats.
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