When LA Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon ruled against Frank McCourt having sole ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers, you knew it was a matter of time before his former wife, Jamie, would be getting in on the action. The ruling stipulated that has part of California’s community property state laws that Jamie is considered to be half owner of the club.
With Frank floundering in debt, he attempted to stem the flow of red ink by trying to negotiate, as Jamie is claiming, a “secret deal” with FOX “that would have endangered” the value of the Dodgers. In that deal, Frank was reportedly looking to use the upfront money in the broadcast deal to help pay down his debt.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
Frank McCourt has committed "flagrant breaches" of his duty to protect the financial interests of his ex-wife Jamie, in part by negotiating a "secret deal" with Fox that "would have endangered" the value of the Dodgers' broadcast contracts, attorneys for Jamie McCourt charged in a court filing on Tuesday.
Her attorneys asked that Frank be ordered to provide to Jamie extensive financial information regarding the Dodgers' business operations, including documents related to negotiations with television outlets and efforts to obtain additional financing for the cash-strapped franchise.
The court set a hearing for April 11.
Frank probably should have done a bit of research before attempting such a move as he’s not the first MLB owner to attempt it. Former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks tried to get an extension with FOX Sports to help pay down Hicks Sports Group debt, but was shot down by the league.
It should be noted that there’s a difference in brokering broadcast extensions for the want of increased revenues and using money to pay down debt. The aforementioned Rangers have recently brokered that extension that Hicks was seeking, but the difference was, new ownership under Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan have said they are using the money to go after free agent talent and make capital improvements to the Ballpark. What Frank McCourt and Tom Hicks tried to do was far, far different.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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