Monday, September 20, 2010
Jamie McCourt continues testimony
ESPN.com news services
LOS ANGELES -- Jamie McCourt testified Monday that she didn't read a postnuptial agreement she signed that gives the Los Angeles Dodgers solely to her husband if they divorce.
She wants a judge to throw out the pact and split the Dodgers, the stadium and the surrounding property worth hundreds of millions of dollars between her and Frank McCourt.
The testimony by the former Dodgers CEO followed a two-week hiatus in her divorce dispute with Frank McCourt.
Jamie McCourt said she and her estranged husband frequently talked about selling the team if they couldn't turn around its financial misfortunes. The Dodgers were hemorrhaging tens of millions of dollars every year under the previous owners before the team was purchased in 2004 for about $430 million, according to court documents.
Frank McCourt has testified he considered the deal risky -- mainly because roughly three-quarters of the money came from loans to be repaid in two years. Jamie McCourt countered that the purchase was not riddled with pitfalls.
"We felt confident we would have positive cash flow in two to three years," she said under questioning by her attorney. "If something did not turn out exactly right, we could always sell."
Frank McCourt. however, indicated last week he intends to have his four sons take the helm eventually.
The divorce proceeding was expected to decide who owns the Dodgers. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon could order the sale of the team.
Despite being a family law attorney herself and indicating in court documents it was a childhood dream of hers to own a baseball team, Jamie McCourt testified she didn't read the marital agreement before signing it.
She said she relied on her husband and a family attorney to tell her what it contained, which she thought was only meant to protect a half-dozen luxurious homes in her name from her husband's business creditors. She added if she had read the document or comprehended she would give up the rights to the Dodgers, it would have "sounded a lot of alarms" and she would have posed questions to the family attorney.
"I believe I understood it, but it did more than what it was intended to do," she said.
Under questioning by Frank McCourt's attorney Steve Susman, Jamie McCourt said her husband never coerced or threatened her to sign the pact. When asked whose fault it was for her not to read the agreement, she admitted she should have.
"I don't think it's anyone's fault to read it but myself," she said.
Susman noted that during a deposition earlier this year, Jamie McCourt said the reason she didn't read the agreement was because reviewing legal documents was boring. During the afternoon session, Susman methodically went over the agreement with her, asking her questions if she knew what the terms meant. In some of the instances, she said even today she didn't understand it.
Outside of court, Susman said Jamie McCourt's testimony wasn't believable.
"It's as fictional as Harry Potter," he said.
Before testimony resumed on Monday, Jamie McCourt's driver struck a pedestrian after she arrived at the courthouse.
The pedestrian was taken by ambulance to a hospital after the driver of the Land Rover hit a woman on a sidewalk.
Witness Debra Amos says the SUV was backing out of the driveway when it struck the pedestrian, who works at the downtown building.
Jamie McCourt was sitting in the front passenger seat and her attorney was in the back seat when they arrived at the courthouse. It was unclear if they were in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Authorities questioned the driver.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.