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Frank McCourt Expected To Spend Entire Day
Today On Witness Stand In Divorce Trial
Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt took the witness stand in his divorce trial Tuesday, a day on which the "most riveting testimony shed light on the collapse of a marriage that lasted nearly 30 years," according to Shaikin & Hall of the L.A. TIMES. McCourt indicated that he "considered for months whether to sign a document that would have granted shared ownership of the Dodgers to his wife, Jamie," and ultimately said no on May 12, 2009. The couple "separated two months later." Frank, who is expected to "spend a full day on the stand" today, testified that he "could not recall many details surrounding the signing of the March 2004 agreement upon which he has staked his claim to sole ownership of the Dodgers." He did say, however, that he "had not demanded anything from Jamie as a condition of signing an agreement both sides have said was designed to protect the couple's homes from creditors." Shaikin & Hall note that admission "delighted Jamie's lawyers." Attorney Dennis Wasser, part of Jamie's legal team, said, "That's our whole case. He just said it." But Frank's lawyers contend that the couple "made a practice of segregating their business assets in Frank's name, and Jamie specifically declined to put any funds into the Dodgers or to join him in signing baseball's indemnity forms." Attorney Leah Bishop, who "drafted the proposed document," also testified yesterday. Bishop testified that Frank told her the Dodgers had a "dysfunctional structure" with Jamie as CEO and Dennis Mannion as President. Bishop, referring to her notes from that meeting, said, "He just realized she thinks she can run the team. ... He was fine with her being referred to as the most powerful woman in baseball, but not if she really believes it" (L.A. TIMES, 9/1).
ORDER IN THE COURT? USA TODAY's David Leon Moore notes Frank yesterday was "tight-lipped, stern-faced and showing little recollection for details about meetings and phone calls and documents, and his testimony looks as if it could be a bit of an ordeal for everybody." After the conclusion of Frank's testimony, Jamie will be called to the stand. The trial is scheduled to continue "through Friday, then recesses until Sept. 20 to give the parties a chance to discuss settling" (USA TODAY, 9/1). In L.A., T.J. Simers notes to "hear Frank's side, it's all about Jamie's nest egg and how she didn't want any creditors taking a bite out of it because her husband couldn't be counted on to be successful." To hear Jamie's side, it is "all about the changes made to their property agreement after it had been signed and notarized, thereby making it invalid and entitling her to half of the Dodgers." Bishop said, "As long as I had known them, they bickered constantly" (L.A. TIMES, 9/1). Also in L.A., Steve Lopez writes, "Frank was grim as an undertaker. Jamie looked as if she'd taken a gut punch" (L.A. TIMES, 9/1). FOXSPORTS.com's Mark Kriegel writes under the header, "There Are No Winners In McCourt Trial" (FOXSPORTS.com, 8/31).
CHARITY CASE: In L.A., Dylan Hernandez cites a source as saying that the Dodgers Dream Foundation is "under investigation by the California attorney general's office for payments it made" to Senior VP/Public Affairs Howard Sunkin. The Dodgers issued a statement confirming that their official charity received a letter from the attorney general's office, and said the foundation is "cooperating fully with that office." Hernandez notes the charity was "sent requests for documents and answers related to how it paid Sunkin, who received more than $400,000 in 2007, about a quarter of the foundation's budget that year" (L.A. TIMES, 9/1). The Dodgers have said that Sunkin's pay in '07 "included a bonus and was a reward for three years of efforts to broaden the scope of the charity" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/1).
Jets Insisting That New Meadowlands
Stadium Will Be Sold Out This Season
The Jets "put single-game tickets for the entire season on sale" at 10:00am ET yesterday, and the team last night announced that they "sold out their allotment of single-game tickets" for the first two regular-season games, according to John Brennan of the Bergen RECORD. The single-game tickets were "only for upper-deck seats, which have no personal seat licenses for Jets games." Jets Exec VP/Business Operations Matt Higgins said that "fewer than 2,000 seats per game were available, with season ticket holders having the right to purchase the seats at face value" for $95-125 per game. After 4:00pm yesterday, "any fan was able to try and purchase the seats," but "with a $10 surcharge" (Bergen RECORD, 9/1). In N.Y., Kevin Armstrong reports "plenty of tickets -- approximately 16,000 in all -- were made available" yesterday, but the Jets insist that they will be sold out for the season "by opening night." Higgins: "We're about 96% sold out. With certainty, I can say that we'll be sold out by next week. We're just about there." Higgins said that PSL sales "throughout the stadium are nearly complete, after undergoing a significant slash in price in June," though there are "still available club seats." Meanwhile, a Giants spokesperson said that the Giants have "completely sold out" their Sept. 12 home opener against the Panthers and their Nov. 14 game against the Cowboys, "not including the club-seat PSLs they still have not sold" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/1). The Jets "previously had said the upper bowl was sold out," but Higgins said that "discounted PSL seats led to a 'vast migration' from the upper bowl to lower sections, freeing the tickets now being made available" (NEWSDAY, 9/1).
Texans Surpass 64,000 In Season Tickets
Sales Despite Raising Prices In Offseason
The Texans revealed yesterday that they have "sold a record number of season tickets" for the upcoming season at Reliant Stadium. The Texans as of yesterday had "sold 64,355 season tickets, an increase from 2008 when they set a season high with 64,047." Texans President Jamey Rootes said, "This is our largest season-ticket base, and we'll continue to sell season tickets." The team "increased ticket prices after last season" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/1).
MISSING THE GOAL: Manchester United CEO David Gill insisted that "despite falling short of their goal of 54,000 season ticket sales by more than 2,000 it was still 'pretty good' in the current economic climate and insisted the debt-laden club is in good financial shape." Gill: "We've sold more season tickets than the capacity of most Premier League grounds. Our executive seat sales are on track as compared with last year in a different market. I think the bare facts are that the club is in good financial shape." Fan group the Manchester United Supporters' Trust has "urged supporters to boycott the club in the hope of persuading" the Glazers to sell (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 9/1).
MAGIC CARPET RIDE: In Orlando, Richard Bilbao reports the AFL Orlando Predators have signed a "five-year lease for $280,000 to play" their home games at Amway Center, slated to open in October. The Predators are "negotiating with the league to hold the AFL's ArenaBowl XXIV championship game in Orlando next August." The franchise also has increased its marketing budget for '11 by almost 50% "to promote the team to sponsors, advertisers and fans" (ORLANDO BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/27 issue).