Jamie McCourt, ex-wife of Dodger owner Frank McCourt, is getting annoyed that she has to find out about Dodger financial dealings from the newspaper.
So today she's asking a judge to force Frank to turn over financial documents so that she — and potential bidders for the team — can get a better idea of where the team's money is going. (Hint: $6.2 million for Casey Blake?)
Today's motion is the latest twist in the legal soap opera that has
plagued the team since Jamie filed for divorce in October 2009.
Frank continues to run the organization, and asserts that he will be the sole owner of the team when the dust clears.
But Jamie claims to be a half-owner, and wants access to the financials
to make sure that no major decisions are made while the divorce is
Jamie is also trying to round up partners to buy out Frank's interest in the team. But she's hit a roadblock there because potential investors have little basis to evaluate the team without a look at the internal numbers. Frank, meanwhile, has said the team is not for sale, and that he plans to bequeath it someday to the couple's four sons.
The L.A. Times reported last week that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig rejected Frank's plan to get a $200 million loan from Fox, which would have been secured by an extension of the Dodgers' TV contract. It's no secret that Frank needs cash to service the team's debt.
But the deal would have made the team less valuable, as the team stands to make a windfall when the current TV contract expires in 2013.
“It is outrageous that Jamie and her counsel have to rely upon the news media for information that Frank is affirmatively obligated to provide before the fact,” wrote Dennis Wasser, one of Jamie's attorneys. “It is equally outrageous that Jamie has to rely upon the good offices of the MLB Commissioner to protect the franchise's best interests…”
The Times also reported in January that Fox gave Frank an advance on the current TV deal to cover operating expenses.
Since that report, Jamie's lawyers have been trying to pry loose Dodger financial records from Frank's lawyers. One of Frank's attorneys, Sorrell Trope, said he willing to sit down and talk about that, but that Frank needs assurances that Dodger records would be kept confidential and wouldn't be leaked to the press. Trope also admonished Jamie's lawyers: “You ought not believe whatever has been 'widely reported' about Frank's plans for the team.”
That meeting has been postponed a couple times, prompting Jamie's lawyers to take the matter to court.
Judge Scott Gordon ruled in Jamie's favor in December, tossing out a post-marital agreement that would have given Frank sole ownership of the team. But the divorce saga is far from over. Jamie's lawyers have predicted that it will take at least a year to prepare for the next phase of trial.