The trial to decide who owns the Dodgers begins today in front of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon. The trial, to be decided by a judge and not a jury, will address the narrow question of whether a document signed by the couple during their marriage gives Frank McCourt sole possession of the team, Dodger Stadium and surrounding land, while giving Jamie McCourt the couple's six homes and one condominium. That's what Frank McCourt contends.

Jamie McCourt charges that the property agreement was changed after she signed it, and her lawyer, Dennis Wasser, filed documents earlier this month alleging fraud.

Our colleague Gene Maddaus is at the courthouse covering the trial, so check in for updates. For some background, check out his blockbuster piece from earlier this month that looked at Frank McCourt's hard-charging business career, which has left a lot of former partners feeling like Jamie does now.

McCourt's former business partners, who tell their story here for the first time, say that's because he can be impossible to work with. In fact, he can be implacable and even ruthless with his partners, whether they are fellow developers, the taxpayers, or — in the case of the divorce — his wife.

Like a marriage, a real estate partnership has to endure over the long term and against unforeseen adversities. Such relationships are committed to writing, but at some point they all run on trust.

Craig and other partners interviewed by the Weekly came to see McCourt as a guy who could not be fully trusted — someone who, when the moment came, would grab an opportunity even if it meant leaving his partner behind.

Whoever wins, no doubt the baseball team will be relieved to put this distraction behind them. The couple announced their separation the day before the National League Championship Series last year and Frank fired Jamie the day after the Dodgers lost to the Phillies. She filed for divorce soon after, and fans have wondered if the conflict has prevented the team from retaining high-priced players.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.

LA Weekly