Ding dong the witch is dead. Or something like that.
Frank McCourt, the most hated man in L.A. sports, has agreed to step away from the team many accused him of using as a personal piggy bank. His divorce opened up a whole can of worms (or whoop ass), and then Major League Baseball had asked a bankruptcy court to force the man from Boston to let it go.
He held on, but tonight it seems he's willing to sell. MLB's statement:
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process.
What price? Well it appears McCourt thinks it's worth $1.2 billion.
Does it include Dodger Stadium and the adjacent lots that McCourt owns? ABC7 reported, yeah, those are expected to be a part of the deal.
The team filed for bankruptcy under McCourt after MLB moved to block a Fox TV deal that the owner said would have saved the day and allowed him to make payroll.
[Added]: McCourt's divorce from wife Jamie opened the team's books to the world and revealed that while the operation rode on bald financial tires Frank and Jamie pulled out cash and lived large despite the fact that the club was purchased with borrowed funds.
Jamie said she was co-owner, and there was major confusion as to whether she really could claim half the team. Eventually she reportedly agreed to walk away for $130 million, paving the way for tonight's announcement.
[More]: City News Service notes that “Major League Baseball had accused McCourt of looting $189 million in team revenue for personal use,” an accusation he denied.
The Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin says the team will be sold auction-style — if the bankruptcy court approves:
The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much now.
He notes that McCourt was only the second owner of the Dodgers following the O'Malley family's long stewardship that preceded even the club's 1958 move from Brooklyn.
Here's hoping the third time's a charm.