SBD/Issue 24/Franchises

Dodgers Owners Frank, Jamie McCourt Reportedly Divorcing

McCourts, Who Have Been Married Since
'79, In Middle Of Divorce Proceedings
Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie, the team's CEO, are "in the middle of divorce proceedings," according to sources cited by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS.com. Sources said that the McCourts, who have been married since '79, are "living in separate houses," and one source added that the divorce "will not be amicable." Community property laws in California would give Jamie 50% of the couples' "share of the Dodgers and any of her husband's other assets." Rosenthal notes any uncertainty in the team's future ownership "could be resolved if one McCourt buys out the other." Sources said that Jamie "would be better positioned to make such a move." It is "not known whether a pre- or post-nuptial agreement exists between Frank and Jamie McCourt that would allow for an orderly ownership transition." Jamie was promoted to CEO in March, becoming the "highest-ranking woman" in MLB (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/15). The McCourts yesterday in a statement confirmed they have separated, but Frank's attorney Marshall Grossman said that the couple "has not filed for divorce." Grossman noted that Frank is the "sole owner of the franchise and is registered as such" with MLB. He added that Jamie remains CEO "for now but could not say whether that would continue." Grossman also said that "there was 'not a chance' that the team would be put up for sale," and that he "did not expect a legal battle over the team." Padres Majority Owner John Moores and his wife Becky agreed to sell the franchise as part of their divorce proceedings, but Grossman said, "This is not going to be another San Diego-like debacle." In L.A., Elliott & Shaikin note the news explains the "long-visible tension between the McCourts," who were "not seen together often this season and sat in separate rows of the owner's box last week during" the Dodgers-Cardinals NLDS (L.A. TIMES, 10/15).

FALLOUT COMING: ESPN.com's Buster Olney prior to news of the McCourts' separation reported there are "major changes looming within the structure of the Dodgers' organization, changes that will be dictated by the direction that ownership takes in the months ahead." Dodgers Exec VP & CMO Charles Steinberg reportedly is "out the door, and headed back to Boston," where he previously served as Red Sox Exec VP/Public Affairs (ESPN.com, 10/14). Sources said that Steinberg is "allied with Jamie McCourt and lost influence as she did" (L.A. TIMES, 10/15).

Torre Says He Still Intends
To Retire After '10 Season
TORRE REFUTES RETIREMENT CLAIM: Dodgers manager Joe Torre said that working for Frank McCourt "was not so unbearable that he would leave the club before his contract expired after next season." Torre: "My relationship is fine here. It’s far from the living hell that it seems to say I was going through. ... I know nothing about where that came from." Torre re-stated that he intends to retire after the '10 MLB season (Tim Brown, YAHOO SPORTS, 10/14). ESPN's Peter Gammons yesterday said he "wouldn't be surprised" if Torre retired following the postseason. Gammons: "A lot of things will probably come out here in the next few months, but I think life with the Dodgers is pretty much a living hell." ESPN Radio 1050 N.Y.'s Michael Kay asked, "So he thought he had it bad in New York and now it's worse there?" Gammons: "There'll be a lot that comes out in time with Dodgers ownership, but that is a mess. I don't think anyone wants to have to put up with it for too long" (ESPN Radio 1050 N.Y., 10/14).

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Jamie McCourt yesterday on Bloomberg Radio said she "unequivocally" would like the Dodgers to face the Yankees in the World Series. McCourt: "They're the childhood team that I revered. ... It would be fantastic for the entire country from coast to coast. It will be great for TV and keep everybody riveted. It would be two centerpiece teams, two icons" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/15).

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