Tuesday, October 25, 2011
MLB, Frank McCourt trade legal jabs
ESPN.com news services
Major League Baseball claims that Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt took nearly $190 million from the team in what a court filing termed "looting."
In filings in a Delaware court, MLB said McCourt took $189.16 million from the club -- $73 million in parking lot revenue through a separate company, $61.16 million to pay personal debts and $55 million for personal distributions, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing documents.
"The Dodgers are in bankruptcy because McCourt has taken almost $190 million out of the club and has completely alienated the Dodgers' fan base," the MLB filing said.
The filing said the distributions were akin to "looting."
The Dodgers countered that Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig approved the parking lot deal. They also said in filings that Selig acted in bad faith when he said he would reject a new team television contract.
Both MLB and the Dodgers cited Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was injured in a parking lot beating on Opening Day 2011, in their latest filings.
MLB said the Stow incident was an example of how a lack of security was an example of bad ownership by McCourt. The Dodgers countered that Selig "set about fabricating the public misimpression that security at Dodger Stadium was somehow inadequate. This is, by far, the most unforgivable action taken by the commissioner during this entire saga, and has caused enormous and irreparable harm to the Dodgers, Mr. McCourt and the game of baseball."
In addition, the United States trustee in charge of the case agreed to put two season-ticket holders on the creditors' committee. In return, attorneys for an ad hoc group of season ticket holders withdrew a motion seeking court approval of an official committee of ticket holders. That motion had been opposed by both the Dodgers and Major League Baseball.
"Our concern is that there would have been protracted litigation over the appointment of an official season ticket holders committee while significant matters are being decided in the bankruptcy cases that will determine the fate of the Dodgers franchise," Robbin Itkin, an attorney for the ticket holders, said in a statement released Tuesday. "This resolution allows for the immediate participation of two season ticket holders on the official committee so that hopefully the perspectives and salient interests of the season tickets holders will be represented in the actions of the official committee."
The Dodgers issued a statement regarding MLB's claims Tuesday.
"Once again, MLB has mischaracterized the facts with inflammatory allegations that are not supported by the evidence," it reads. "As the Commissioner knows and as our legal documents have clearly shown, he approved and praised the structure of the team about which he belatedly complains. We look forward to the opportunity to show the truth next week in court."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.