McCourt divorce case settledDodgers ownership in the balance
By SPORTS NETWORK
|The ownership situation involving the Dodgers could be cleared up very soon. (REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)
LOS ANGELES -- The ownership saga of the Los Angeles Dodgers could end soon, as a settlement has been reached in the divorce case of Frank and Jamie McCourt.
Both McCourts spoke Friday after hammering out details in a Los Angeles court room and Frank was confident that he would take over sole possession of the Dodgers, which includes a judge's authorization to complete a deal with the Fox Network that must still be approved by Major League Baseball.
"I'm very, very pleased we've put this matter behind us and we can focus on baseball again," Frank McCourt stated outside the court room Friday.
The McCourts have owned the Dodgers since 2004, but whether Frank should have sole possession of the team -- as he has believed -- or whether it is shared property -- as Jamie has stated -- has been contested since the two separated two years ago. A marital property agreement between the two, that would have made Frank the sole owner of the club, was invalidated by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon last December.
Gordon will next preside over a one-day trial on Aug. 4 to determine whether Frank McCourt is sole owner of the franchise or whether it is shared property.
"I believe that I'll prevail on August 4," McCourt bluntly stated Friday. "The title is in my name for a reason."
Still, Major League Baseball will need to sign off on the proposed deal with Fox. It's a reported $3 billion transaction that would give Frank McCourt $385 million up front, which he would need to help fulfill the team's payroll obligations come June 30. Reports have indicated that he would be unable to make payroll without the Fox money.
"I fully expect MLB to approve the Fox transaction," Frank McCourt said. "MLB has taken the position that before they approve [the deal] they wanted to see a settlement of the divorce, approval from Jamie [on the deal] or an order from the judge. They asked for one of the three, we've given them all three today."
In April, Major League Baseball began investigating the financial situation of the Dodgers and appointed former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer as a "monitor" of the club's operations.
The divorce settlement and Fox contract, if approved by MLB, would finally end a lengthy soap opera surrounding the Dodgers.
"I believe this puts the Dodgers on sound financial footing for the next 20 years, not just the next 20 days," Frank McCourt stated. "This allows us to close the Fox transaction."
Part of the settlement, according to Frank McCourt, would give Jamie a sum of money -- reported by the Los Angeles Times to be $100 million -- as well as ownership of the couple's homes.
"I'm just hoping for resolution and I hope this is a step toward that," Jamie McCourt said Friday outside the court house.
If Gordon rules the Dodgers to be shared property, a 50-50 split would ensue and the team would likely have to be sold. Jamie McCourt had asked the court to order the sale of the team in May.