SBD/January 26, 2011/Franchises

Jamie McCourt Has Eye On Being Frank's Partner For Dodgers

Jamie McCourt bases claim to co-ownership on December court ruling
Jamie McCourt's attorneys said that Frank McCourt "might have to become business partners with his ex-wife in order to keep the Dodgers in the family," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Following a court hearing yesterday, Jamie's attorneys said that they "would soon assert what they said were her rights as co-owner of the team." In trying to "assure her interest in the value of the team is protected, Jamie is likely to ask for the Dodgers' most recent financial results and projections, including information on discussions with Fox for a new television deal." Dennis Wasser, Jamie's attorney, said that the divorced couple "might have to agree to work together -- as co-owners, perhaps with additional investors -- in order to keep the Dodgers in the family." Shaikin notes a "joint venture between the McCourts would relieve Frank of an immediate obligation to buy out Jamie, but such an agreement would not ease the Dodgers' stiff debt load." Jamie bases her "claim to co-ownership on the decision" by L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to "throw out an agreement that would have granted Frank sole ownership of the team." Sorrell Trope, an attorney for Frank, maintains that Jamie is "not a co-owner." Trope added that Gordon's decision was "limited to the validity of the agreement and that Frank would continue to own and run the team until another trial could determine whether the team is community property." He said that Frank "would soon decide whether to appeal Gordon's decision or proceed directly to that new trial." Wasser noted that "such a trial might not start before spring training opens" in '12. The two sides "have not held settlement negotiations since Gordon issued his ruling Dec. 7." David Boies, an attorney for Jamie, said that the "prospect of MLB intervention could trigger the resumption" of those talks (L.A. TIMES, 1/26). In L.A., Steve Dilbeck noted "one theory is that Frank is simply attempting to stretch out all these legal maneuverings as long as he can, get his advance from Fox to stay afloat, and then cash in on either a new TV deal or a Dodgers station, enabling him to finally buy Jamie out" (LATIMES.com, 1/25).

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: A Platinum Equity spokesperson said that Chair & CEO Tom Gores is "not involved in purchasing" the Dodgers. A report earlier this week indicated that Gores, the prospective owner of the Pistons, "might join his brother Alec's attempt to buy the Dodgers" if the team is put up for sale. But the Platinum Equity spokesperson on Monday said, "We are not pursuing any team in today's report. Our current interest is clear." Gores reportedly is "two weeks into a 30-day negotiating period with Karen Davidson" for the Pistons (DETNEWS.com, 1/24).
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