Thursday, June 23, 2011
Report: Fox against forcing deal
The hurdles to Frank McCourt keeping control of the Los Angeles Dodgers keep mounting, even as more evidence of financial problems emerge.
Citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Fox Sports would not support McCourt if he tried to file for bankruptcy and ask a judge to push through a TV deal that was rejected by Major League Baseball.
Commissioner Bud Selig said that the TV deal -- reportedly worth up to $3 billion, with $385 million upfront -- would "facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt" and shot it down this week.
A divorce settlement between McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, was based on receiving that cash. Now, both parties go back to the drawing board and Frank McCourt might not be able to make payroll, which could allow MLB to take over the franchise and force a sale.
In April, MLB took the extraordinary step of assuming control of the troubled franchise. Former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer was appointed to monitor the team on behalf of Selig, who said he took the action because he was concerned about the team's finances and how the Dodgers are being run.
Another piece of evidence supporting MLB's claims emerged Thursday. The Times reported that Frank McCourt had to repay more than $100,000 to a team charity after the attorney general found that the funds were used to benefit the team's former chief executive, Jamie McCourt.
The attorney general sent a letter to the Dodgers Dream Foundation in March saying that a consulting contract worth $122,352 violated state requirements on charity funds.
The consulting firm, Sanderson Strategies, said that its work was above board -- trying to shape the foundation's mission and raise the profile of McCourt, its chairwoman.
Interestingly, the person who executed the contract for the Dodgers, former executive vice president of marketing and public relations, Charles Steinberg, now works for MLB as senior adviser for public affairs.
The commissioner is aware of the matter but is not concerned with Steinberg's role, MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred told the Times.