SBD/May 13, 2011/Franchises

Selig Says There's "No Predetermined Outcome" To Dodgers Investigation

Selig says MLB moving as quickly as possible with Dodgers investigation

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, speaking Thursday afternoon at the conclusion of quarterly owners meetings in N.Y., said there is "no predetermined outcome" to the ongoing monitoring and investigation into the Dodgers' operations. Club Owner Frank McCourt on several occasions in the past three weeks has accused Selig of running a sham process designed to force him out, something the commissioner vehemently denied. "The outcome is not predetermined," Selig said. "We wouldn't have to go through all of this if it was all predetermined. People can say whatever they want, but it's not predetermined. … We're doing this thoughtfully, carefully, and with a lot of planning." Former Rangers President and U.S. Ambassador Tom Schieffer continues to monitor the club, while MLB outside legal counsel Proskauer Rose is leading the investigation into the club's finances. Those efforts continue without a set timetable. McCourt, meeting face-to-face Wednesday with Selig, sought again to convey the significant time urgency of his financial issues. But Selig said to reporters Thursday only that he is proceeding "expeditiously." "Nobody is using the Dean Smith four-corner offense. We're trying to move as fast as possible." Selig refused to further characterize the meeting with McCourt, or address any questions regarding the much-discussed possibility of the Dodgers failing to meet their May 31 player payroll. A defaulting on the player payroll could render the Dodgers' players free agents. "I'm just not going to address any of that," Selig said in response to several questions on the topic (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

WATCHING TV: McCourt Thursday said that he "had impressed upon Selig the urgency in approving the Dodgers' proposed long-term television contract with Fox, which would provide McCourt with the funding he now lacks to meet the team's May 31 payroll." McCourt: "I just emphasized the importance of timing." In L.A., Bill Shaikin notes even if Selig "were to approve the deal by the end of the month, McCourt might have to overcome another significant hurdle." Two sources indicated that Fox "does not plan to move forward with the contract until the company can be assured Jamie McCourt -- Frank McCourt's ex-wife -- would not challenge the deal." A source said that Jamie, in correspondence with Selig's office, "has asserted her right to a say in the Dodgers' television deals" (L.A. TIMES, 5/13). Schieffer discussed the Dodgers' situation on Thursday and said, "The complexity of the situation is daunting. The way things are structured, sometimes they're for tax purposes and sometimes they're for liability purposes, but it does require you to try to follow the dollar through the process, and that takes a little bit of time" (AP, 5/13).

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