Friday, July 15, 2011
Frank McCourt seeks reduced payments
By Josh Fisher
Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com
Saying "I simply cannot afford to support [Jamie McCourt's] lifestyle any longer," Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt asked a judge to reduce the monthly spousal support he is required to pay his ex-wife while their divorce is being finalized.
A June 30, 2010 order stipulated that Frank McCourt pay his ex-wife more than $600,000 per month, including more than $400,000 in payments on seven of the couple's properties. Frank McCourt asked Judge Scott M. Gordon to reduce the amount in documents filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Ownership of the seven homes at issue depends on future litigation in the couple's divorce, and Frank McCourt has been paying the mortgages on them. According to his filing, Jamie McCourt has refused to rent or sell the properties, which are all titled in her name.
Frank McCourt contends that the Dodgers are his own property and the homes belong exclusively to Jamie. He would have Jamie sell or rent the residences to fund her lifestyle. In the case the court finds that both the team and the properties belong to the McCourts together, Frank has officially requested the homes be sold.
Due to the Dodgers' bankruptcy, the documents state, Frank McCourt's annual income is $5 million, which would not cover the court-ordered obligations to his former wife. Frank McCourt also declared in the filings that he has spent nearly $8 million in the past year on support to Jamie McCourt, compared to about $600,000 for his own expenses.
Ryan Kirkpatrick, an attorney for Frank McCourt, released a statement summing up his client's position.
"Jamie McCourt continues to live a lifestyle that simply is not sustainable," the statement read. "She has seven homes which Frank pays for, and despite many requests, she has refused to sell or rent any of them. No one needs seven houses. Beyond covering her home expenses, Frank has been paying her $225,000 a month to support her unrestrained style of living. Today's request by Frank simply reflects economic reality."
A source with knowledge of the situation said Friday that Frank McCourt is current on his payments to his ex-wife.
Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Jamie McCourt, questioned Frank McCourt's financial situation in a statement.
"Frank's hypocrisy and deceit know no bounds. It's inexplicable that Frank has single-handedly destroyed the value of the Dodgers in the nearly two years since Jamie was last involved with the team," the statement read. "If Frank's personal financial situation is really so dire, why doesn't he just sell his half of the Dodger assets?"
Frank McCourt's motion to modify his support obligations will be heard Aug. 10 in Los Angeles by Judge Gordon. If granted, Frank McCourt's request will date back to July 15, 2011. Payments to Jamie McCourt are due on the 1st and 15th of each month, so a total of one month's obligation would be reduced retroactively. Further, a favorable result on his motion would relieve Frank McCourt from paying on the residences going forward, and his monthly support to Jamie McCourt would be adjusted to reflect his diminished resources.
As for the Dodgers' bankruptcy case, Judge Kevin Gross will rule on Frank McCourt's proposed financing arrangement on July 20. Major League Baseball already has filed a motion objecting to the proposal.
Josh Fisher is a contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com and the author of the blog DodgerDivorce.com.