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Comedian Bill Maher said he was glad to have saved some pennies when he read in The New York Times that his childhood favorite baseball club was selling minority shares.
After reading about the New York Mets’ financial woes in December, the “Real Time with Bill Maher” host said he was excited by the prospect of buying a piece of one of his favorite teams. The politically charged stand-up comic visited Citi Field in Flushing Sunday to announce he had bought a minority share of the team several months ago, but would not say how much he spent or how large a stake he owned.
“It’s a dream come true,” Maher said at the news conference. “I have lived in Los Angeles for 30 years, but I never abandoned the teams I grew up with.”
The comedian bought into the team after reading how the Mets’ owners were looking to raise money after being sued by a trustee intent on recovering money for victims of the now-imprisoned Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The team’s owners announced in 2011 they were looking to sell limited partner shares for $20 million each.
Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz reached a legal agreement in March with Irving Picard, the trustee representing the victims of Madoff’s scheme, making it possible for the owners to avoid paying all of the $162 million in losses they initially agreed upon.
On the day of his financial announcement, Maher toured Citi Field alongside Mets players and owners, sporting a black and blue team cap. The team went on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1, the night after starting pitcher Johan Santana made history with the franchise’s first-ever no-hitter.
That same night, Massapequa resident and Mets fanatics Rafael Diaz and John Ries were arrested on charges of trespassing after running out onto the field in excitement to celebrate the feat. They were released from jail after two nights.
Maher said he hoped to bring luck to the team, adding that the Mets’ latest success was proving wrong the baseball critics who initially pegged them for last place.
“I buy in and I come to town and there’s a no-hitter,” Maher said. “Draw your own conclusions.”
The comic said he would have no role in the team’s business aside from being an enthusiastic bystander.
“I can’t think of a better place for the money I’ve saved to go,” Maher said.
In February, Maher also took out the check book to donate $1 million to Priorities USA Action, a political action committee in support of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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