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Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Jamie McCourt wants California’s family law courts to throw out her $131-million divorce settlement.  That’s why, according to the Los Angeles Times, the new owners of the Dodgers must reveal their financial arrangements with Jamie’s ex-husband/partner, Frank McCourt.  Got that?  We’re pretty sure Frank does too.

According to the Times article earlier this month, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon denied the Dodgers request to seal a summary of the team’s deal with Frank McCourt.  The judge ordered the document to be made publicly available June 17, unless Guggenheim Baseball Management succeeds in an appeal before then.

Jamie McCourt’s attorney, Bert Fields, believes the financial summary could reveal that the deal was worth more than the Dodgers publicly announced sales price of $2.15 billion.  “It shows Mr. McCourt got value way beyond $2 billion.”  And that somebody totally got ripped off in their settlement negotiations.

In her request to have Judge Gordon throw out her divorce settlement, Jamie alleged that Frank fraudulently misled her about the value of the Dodgers and their assets.  Frank denies this charge.  And he also denies extraterrestrials run the White House.

Last year, Guggenheim paid $2 billion for the Dodgers, while an affiliated entity financed the purchase of the land surrounding Dodger Stadium for $150 million.  The accompanying financial arrangements Guggenheim attempted to seal include data about how Frank and Guggenheim were to share profits from the joint investment venture, which is the crux of this whole magilla.

In court, Guggenheim argued that financial disclosure would harm the Dodgers ability to lure another sports team to the Dodger Stadium site.  (Guggenheim’s ownership has since admitted that it is indeed in talks with the NFL about building a stadium on the stated site.)

Although Staples Center owner AEG still has plans to bring the NFL to South Park, the NFL has made it abundantly clear it has its tiny, greedy, little heart set on Chavez Ravine.  As a side note, the NFL made no mention of all the profits to be made – by everyone, except I guess poor, hungry Jamie – from the Chavez Ravine site.


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According to the Los Angeles Times, Jamie McCourt, the former wife of the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank McCourt, plans to set aside the couple’s divorce settlement, claiming Frank vastly understated the value of the team that sold earlier this year for more than $2 billion, the most money ever paid for a pro franchise.

According to Jamie’s attorney, Bert Fields, Jamie “thought” long and hard about whether to do this, but, obviously dollar figures danced in her visions.  Frank got about “93 percent of the family assets, and Mrs. McCourt got about 7 percent,” Fields was quoted as saying.  “We would’ve much preferred to have this massive imbalance resolved with some modification, but we got no response to that approach.  We didn’t want to have more family litigation, but now it’s up to the court.”

The motion that was filed last Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court claims Frank committed fraud by misrepresenting the couple’s Dodgers’ assets as worth less than $300 million during their protracted divorce.

The couple divorced in October 2010.  At the time, Jamie settled for $131 million.  The motion just filed, claims that after the sale and subtraction of relevant debts, Frank’s assets turned out to be worth $1.7 billion, well over 10 times what Jamie received.  The motion further requests that even if Frank’s figures were the result of mistakes rather than fraud, the settlement should be tossed out on the basis of those errors.  A hearing on the motion to set aside the divorce settlement was scheduled for November 16th.


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The good news is, according to the Ventura County Star, that two years and three days after Frank and Jamie McCourt issued a statement to announce their separation, they have issued another statement asserting they’ve actually agreed on something else: how to settle the property issues in their divorce case.

The bad news of course is that this does not bode well for true blue-blood Los Angeles Dodger fans everywhere.

That’s because this is being done with one purpose in mind.  So Frank can narrow his beady little sites on beating Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig for ownership of the Dodgers.

Per the agreement, Jamie would get about $130 million and relinquish any claim she might have to a share of the Dodgers.  In turn, Frank, without Jamie as an obstacle to his plan of selling the Dodgers’ television rights in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, appears set for a winner-take-all court showdown for the Dodgers with MLB and Selig.

The proposed settlement would conclude what many are calling the costliest divorce in California history.  The McCourts have already incurred $20.6 million in legal bills related to the divorce.  It was estimated it would cost at least another $14 million to settle the outstanding dispute over whether the Dodgers were Frank’s sole property or community property.

Now, for Frank to keep the Dodgers, he needs U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to deny Selig’s request and to grant an auction of the Dodgers’ television rights.  In the absence of the pending settlement, Frank could not have kept the team without defeating Selig in Bankruptcy Court, then beating Jamie in divorce court regarding the issue of whether the Dodgers were or were not community property.

The sad part in all this is now both Frank and Jamie can no longer use the Dodgers as their own personal piggy bank for financing their lavish existence.  In her initial pleadings regarding the divorce, Jamie described how the couple drew combined salaries of $7 million per year, plus $46 million to buy side-by-side oceanfront estates in Malibu to bookend the $27 million side-by-side homes they bought near the Playboy Mansion.  There were also properties in Massachusetts, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and Mexico, not to mention the $400 dinner and $1,000 per-night hotels, the private jet travel, and house calls from makeup artists and hairdressers.

It’s no wonder Frank’s holding on so hard to maintain ownership of our beloved Dodgers.  And why Dodger fans everywhere continue to suffer the hardened fate of mediocrity.


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If you’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan and you were hoping for a quick fix to your fantasy woes, sorry, but no such luck.  The Los Angeles Times has reported that Frank and Jamie McCourt won’t be settling their divorce case any time soon.

In fact, it is expected that the bigger question of who actually owns the Dodgers will be decided by fire and trial during the 2012 baseball season.  So there probably won’t be any pitching upgrades or big expensive bats added to the lineup before then.

The McCourts’ trial is expected to last for more than a month.  Of course the ultimate resolution of the baseball ownership shenanigans won’t be decided before they resolve the issues that rest before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  “Until it gets out of bankruptcy,” Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon said, “the baseball team cannot be sold by this court.”

The 2012 trial is expected to resolve all remaining issues between the couple, which includes team ownership, permanent support, and division of assets.  The trial will probably be the most expensive, if not complex, part of this litigation.  Attorneys’ fees in the case are expected to approach the $35 million mark.

However, Frank did score a major victory in court last Wednesday when both sides agreed he would only have to pay a paltry $225,000 per month in temporary spousal support to Jamie, replacing the $412,000 per month he had been paying.  Poor Jamie.  What’s a woman to do?  Certainly not go out and hire a big bat that might make the team more competitive on the field.  That would be too easy.


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So it really is easy to see why a guy like Frank McCourt looks so uptight all the time.  And, why the Dodgers are seemingly always in last place.  You see it’s all about the big dollar sign.  And Frank’s dollar sign, one must remember, is bigger than most.

In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, Frank and Jamie McCourt’s divorce could cost the ex couple upwards of $35 million.  Imagine that for a second.  Spending nearly $40 million to get rid of someone you had once wed, had children with, and then promised to be with for the rest of your life.

Now if you haven’t experienced a divorce like this one, it’s okay because apparently in California no one ever has.  This divorce is bigger than most.  It involves more than most.  So it’s safe to say that not just any man’s wife can be expected to spend the $11.2 million Jamie has handed out to her lawyers.  And hubby probably won’t have to reach as deeply into his pocket as Frank did for the cool $9.4 million he has dished out to his attorneys.  And to make the figure even cozier, they’re both projected to spend another $7 million…



That’s more than the McCourt’s pay any of their players.  The Dodgers’ largest contract among current players is $33 million.  And that’s for washed up pitcher Ted Lilly.  Jeez.  So, when you add it all up, it appears the real winners in all this divorce stuff might actually be the lawyers.  I think we should all forget about being major league ballplayers for a second, and consider raising our kids to be divorce lawyers.  Jeesh.  I wish my parents had raised me to be a – oh, wait a minute, that’s right, they did.

I am a divorce lawyer.  But the truth is, and you’ve got to trust me on this – after all I am a lawyer – not all divorces pay like this one has.  Not all divorce cases that come through the front door add up to the “costliest split in state history.”  The McCourt’s divorce, of course, is unique.

For instance, Frank and Jamie have settled as many issues in their divorce since filing for it 21 months ago as I have.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch, nil.

But if there’s going to be any consolation for any of us – the fans – it might come in knowing that the Dodgers are on the verge of posting a second consecutive losing season for the first time in 24 years.  They’re also about to sell fewer than 3 million tickets in a full season for the first time in 19 years.

So the McCourts might as well continue getting their hits in court.  Because they sure aren’t getting them on the field.

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