Frank McCourt Accepts Dodger Divorce Deal, But Jamie Refuses [Updated]

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Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:31 PM
click to enlarge Frank McCourt
  • Frank McCourt

Settlement talks between Frank and Jamie McCourt are at an impasse, clearing the way for Judge Scott Gordon to issue a ruling in the contentious Dodger divorce case.

In a statement to the media, Frank's attorney, Marc Seltzer, said that Frank accepted the deal offered by mediator Peter Lichtman, but that Lichtman had declared an impasse. Jamie's side has yet to comment.

"We can only conclude that Jamie rejected Judge Lichtman's settlement proposal and is allowing this matter to drag on further," Seltzer said.

[Update, 4:42 p.m.: Jamie's attorney, Dennis Wasser, says "We were ordered not to discuss the settlement process, and we won't."]

Jamie apparently expects Gordon to rule in her favor, which would make

any subsequent settlement more generous than what she can get now.

The divorce case has been a spectacle ever since Jamie filed for divorce back in October 2009. It opened a window on the McCourts' big-spending ways, which spurred calls for them to sell the team.

Gordon has until the end of December to rule on the validity of the McCourts' post-marital agreement. The agreement purports to give Frank sole ownership of the Dodger franchise, while giving Jamie ownership of the couple's many houses. Were that agreement to be enforced, Frank would end up with something like 85% of the couple's net worth.

Jamie has fought back, claiming she is entitled to half the team. Over the summer, her high-wattage legal team uncovered three copies of the original agreement that left the Dodgers as the couple's joint property. Gordon presided over an 11-day trial on that issue back in September.

Those hoping for a sale have been rooting for Jamie, on the theory that neither McCourt can afford to buy the other one out, and that an equal division of their assets would force them to sell.

Lichtman met with both sides during and after the trial in an effort to reach a settlement. He offered a deal to both sides on Nov. 19. The details of the proposal are a closely kept secret, but it is generally understood that any settlement would allow Frank to keep control of the Dodgers while providing some mechanism for continuing payments to Jamie.

Whatever the specifics, it was good enough for Frank. His side says that should not be read as an expectation that he will lose. But if he does lose, it doesn't mean the Dodgers will automatically be split evenly between the warring McCourts.

What's more likely is more litigation, more settlement talks, and ultimately, some kind of deal.

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