Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Jamie McCourt wants Dodgers sale?
Jamie McCourt is likely to request that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge put the Dodgers up for sale immediately,
the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday, citing two sources with knowledge of the legal proceedings.
Judge Scott Gordon, who is handling the divorce of Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, is expected to determine a date Thursday as to when Jamie McCourt's request will be heard,
according to the report.
With commissioner Bud Selig having appointed an overseer to monitor the Dodgers in light of the team's mounting financial difficulties, the Times reported that Jamie McCourt's expected legal maneuver is designed to ensure any potential sale of the Dodgers would be controlled by the McCourts rather than Major League Baseball, should Selig eventually move to seize the club.
Baseball officials believe the Dodgers don't have enough cash to make their end-of-May payroll, which runs about $8.25 million. If Frank McCourt is unable to make payroll, MLB would step in and pay players, avoiding a default that might allow them to become free agents. Baseball might then start the process of trying to force a sale of the team. Judge Gordon invalidated a postnuptial agreement giving Frank McCourt sole ownership of the team, allowing Jamie to seek half of the franchise.
Meanwhile, Frank McCourt says a proposed television deal with Fox would solve the Dodgers' financial problems. He has criticized Selig for not approving the $3 billion deal that would give the club about $300 million up front.
Selig has said he won't make any decision on the Fox deal until Tom Schieffer, whom Selig appointed to monitor the Dodgers, has completed an investigation into the team's finances.
The Times also reported Wednesday that Fox wouldn't move forward with the contract without Jamie McCourt's approval, because the television company doesn't want to risk her challenging the deal in court.
Sources close to Jamie McCourt told ESPN The Magazine's Molly Knight that Jamie has been alarmed by the prospect of her ex-husband draining equity out of the Dodgers as he digs in to fight MLB from taking over the club. California community property law states that the designated control person of a shared asset has a duty to the non-controlling party to protect the asset from diminishing substantially in value. Jamie's lawyers are expected to argue that Frank's ownership is seriously harming the value of the Dodgers -- and with it, Jamie's potential take when the team is sold.
The Dodgers are expected to fetch upwards of $800 million if sold this summer -- but the team could go for up to $1 billion, sources say.
Court documents filed during the McCourts' contentious divorce show the owners had taken on $490 million in debt against the Dodgers between 2004 and 2009. No new debt numbers have been released to the public since then, but two sources with knowledge of the team's finances say that number is higher now. In the event of a sale, creditors and the IRS would need to be paid off before either McCourt could see any profits; however, it is unknown whether there would be any cash left.
Frank McCourt continues to maintain that he alone owns the Dodgers.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Molly Knight and The Associated Press was used in this report.