By Ray O’Hanlon
West Point businessman Denis Maher has donated $1,000 to the cause of restoring the Famine-era sailing ship Jeanie Johnston.
At a meeting in Manhattan last week, Maher presented the donation to Jeff Cleary, executive director of the fund-raising group The Famine Ship Ltd.
Maher’s action was prompted by anger over an $855 donation to the group by the New York Mets.
That sum represented a portion of the gate receipts for "Irish Night" at Shea Stadium last Aug. 5. Far too small a portion. according to the Famine Ship Ltd., which has described the Mets check as an insult.
Maher agreed and said last week that he felt compelled to act after reading reports in the Echo detailing the failure of the multi-million-dollar baseball franchise to come up with a check for several months before finally handing over $855.
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"I couldn’t believe that they could be so mean, and the more I thought about it the more I knew I had to do something," Maher said.
Meanwhile, Famine Ship Ltd. has written to Mets co-owners Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon requesting a meeting aimed at securing a more generous donation from the ballclub.
"It is my hope that we could schedule a meeting in the very near future to discuss this matter and reach a reasonable and mutual conclusion," Cleary said in a letter to Wilpon.
The letter is dated Jan. 29, but as of presstime Tuesday Cleary had not received a reply.
"I have not heard from any big honchos at the Mets or any little honchos either," Cleary said.
Wilpon was named in a recent Daily News Story detailing how the Mets spent $2.9 million in New York City taxpayer money "on a battery of consultants to plan everything from luxury suites to hot-dog stands at the teams [planned] new stadium."