SBD/Issue 9/Franchises

Lawyer Explains Wording Change In Key McCourt Document

Attorney Larry Silverstein yesterday testified during the McCourt divorce trial that he “simply botched his words” in a property agreement draft he wrote “late one night or early morning in 2004, when he listed Frank McCourt’s sole property as ‘exclusive’ of the Dodgers,” according to Hall & Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Silverstein later changed “exclusive” to “inclusive,” meaning the Dodgers “were not joint property” of Frank and Jamie McCourt. Jamie contends that she “would not have signed the agreement if she believed that she was signing away her claim to any ownership in the team.” However, Silverstein, who was “acting on behalf of both McCourts, said she never indicated anything of the sort, including during a March 29 phone call when the two discussed the draft agreement.” Silverstein: “She never once said that the Dodgers should not be listed as Frank’s assets.” But Jamie’s attorney, David Boies, said that whatever his client told Silverstein during the March call “prompted the attorney to change the draft ‘as soon as he got off the phone with her.’” Boies “maintains there never was an error, that Silverstein was following Jamie’s wishes when he wrote that the Dodgers were not Frank’s sole property.” He added that when Silverstein "later changed the wording to include the Dodgers in Frank’s sole property, he was changing the document to reflect Frank’s wishes." The trial was scheduled to resume this morning, and the two sides are “expected to meet privately at the courthouse for a mediation session” tomorrow (L.A. TIMES, 9/23). Silverstein yesterday "acknowledged his handwritten notes on a draft of the agreement, after he had spoken with Jamie." He had added the word "exclusive" to the draft. He also acknowledged "meeting with Frank the next day, when the word was changed to 'inclusive.'" Boies: "Without Jamie being present, they changed it, without ever telling Jamie" (LATIMES.com, 9/22).

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