Wilpon, Fred

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WILPON, FRED (1936– ), U.S. sports executive and real estate developer. Wilpon, who was born in Brooklyn, n.y., graduated from the University of Michigan. He worked for Hanover Equities Corporation in New York from 1959 to 1969, rising to vice president. He joined Peter Sharp & Co. as a vice president and two years later co-founded the realty investment concern Sterling Equities of Manhasset, n.y., which developed and invested in real estate. From 1972, Sterling Equities and its affiliates purchased or developed over 17 million square feet of commercial property, 45,000 residential units, 8.5 million square feet of retail property, and three major sports complexes. In 1980 Wilpon and Saul Katz, the founders of Sterling Equities, acquired a partnership interest in the New York Mets professional baseball team, one of the major sports franchises in the United States. In 1985 Sterling invested in Pathogenesis Laboratories, a medical research company focused on treatments for cystic fibrosis. Five years later Sterling joined with American Securities Capital Partners to form the first of four investment funds that invested in and managed real estate in 43 states. In 2000, he and Katz co-founded, and Wilpon became chairman of, the Brooklyn Baseball Company, owner of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league team. It marked the return of baseball to Brooklyn, which had been without a professional team since the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956. In 2002 Sterling became full owner of the Mets, and Wilpon remained chairman and chief executive through the early years of the 21st century. His son Jeff was senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Mets. Other members of the Wilpon family served on the board of directors. Wilpon was a member of the New York City Housing Task Force and served as a trustee of the Jewish Institute for Geriatric Care in New Hyde Park, n.y.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]