Bill Maher owns stake in Mets

NEW YORK -- Political commentator Bill Maher, the host of HBO's "Real Time," had VIP treatment Sunday night at Citi Field, including an escort from New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon during batting practice.

The access came with good reason.

Both men confirmed Maher has purchased an ownership stake in the organization.

"Wow, that got around fast," Maher, wearing a Mets cap, told ESPNNewYork.com before Sunday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I think it's a great investment," he added. "I think it's a great team that I've been rooting for since they came into existence, which was soon after I came into existence."

Maher, 56, was born in New York City and raised in River Vale, N.J.

Principal owner Fred Wilpon, brother-in-law Saul Katz and family put up for sale 12 minority ownership shares of the team -- each costing $20 million and worth 4 percent -- after a deal with hedge-fund guru David Einhorn to purchase a large minority share broke down in September.

At the time, the family was facing financial difficulty related to a clawback lawsuit involving Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme as well as other debt-related issues.

Fred Wilpon in March announced the family successfully had raised $240 million through the share of 12 blocks. He declined to identify most of the investors, beyond four shares purchased by cable companies who share ownership of SportsNet New York with the Mets ownership family.

Maher said he became aware the Mets were seeking minority investors by reading it in The New York Times in December. He would not disclose the precise percentage he now owns.

"Oh, we don't talk about things like that," Maher said.