In one of the more unbelievable stories of financial mismanagement that I've read in recent years, Business Insider and the Wall Street Journal tell the incredible story of Bobby Bonilla, a halfway decent baseball player who was paid an obscene amount of money in the 1990s to play for the New York Mets.
No surprise there — the Mets have a history of overpaying for questionable talent.
What is surprising is that fact that, 11 years after his last game as a Met, the 48-year-old Bonilla has just received a payment of nearly $1.2 million from the team — and he'll receive that amount annually for the next 24 years as well.
Here's what happened, in the words of Business Insider's Dashiell Bennett:
“After the 1999 season, Bonilla had one year left on his contract. The Mets wanted to get rid of him and he wanted to leave, but it would have cost them $5.9 million to buy him out. That was $5.9 million more than they wanted to spend.
“So owner Fred Wilpon and then-GM Steve Phillips worked out a deal. If Bonilla agreed to defer the $5.9 million payment and spread it out over a 25-year span, the Mets would begin paying him back, with interest, in 11 years.
“Because of a generous 8 percent interest rate, Bonilla's $5.9 million will become $29,831,205. He'll receive his last payment in 2035, when he turns 73 years old.”
According to the Wall Street Journal's Mike Sielski, Bonilla now refers to that contract as “that beautiful thing.”