Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Former Mets Exec. Paul Danforth is added to the list of potential buyers


Paul Danforth, a former Mets executive who now holds a senior post at CAA Sports, the fast-growing sports division of the Creative Artists Agency of Hollywood, is a lead investor in a group seeking to buy a share of the Mets, according to a person who was briefed on the group’s interest.


Danforth is teaming with, among others, William Montgoris, a former chief operating officer of Bear Stearns, the failed investment bank. Montgoris, who retired from the bank in 1999, is Danforth’s father-in-law.
Montgoris declined to comment, and Danforth denied the report.


Danforth’s group is among at least four major investment teams that have applied to Major League Baseball to see the Mets’ financial statements to determine the health of the club. The other groups include Steven Starker, a co-founder of BTIG Trading, a Wall Street firm; David Heller, a partner at Goldman Sachs; and James F. McCann, the founder of 1-800-Flowers.com, and Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street executive.
Danforth has perhaps the closest ties to the team.

He spent 13 years in the front office as a sales executive before leaving in 2007 to join CAA Sports, which has expanded rapidly over the past several years, signing marquee athletes like Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter. The agency also brokers major sponsorships, including Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship deal with Madison Square Garden, a transaction Danforth helped orchestrate.

The Mets also have a connection to Montgoris. Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ principal owner, sat on the board of Bear Stearns for a decade through 2003. Sterling Project Development Group, the real estate arm of Wilpon and his partner, Saul Katz, helped develop Bear Stearns’s Madison Avenue headquarters.
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