SBD/May 31, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Frank and Jamie McCourt Under Investigation For Possible Financial Misconduct

Investigation into the McCourts focusing on tax issues, potentially spending team funds
A federal grand jury is "investigating possible criminal financial misconduct of the Dodgers and related entities during the ownership of FRANK and JAMIE MCCOURT," according to sources cited by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. The sources said that authorities have "requested documents from representatives of each of the McCourts and from Major League Baseball." A source said that the investigation started "early last year and appears to be focused on tax issues and possible improprieties in the spending of team funds." Shaikin notes an MLB-appointed trustee "oversaw the Dodgers' financial affairs for more than two months last year." In a subsequent Bankruptcy Court filing, "the league alleged Frank McCourt had 'looted' $189 million from the Dodgers for personal use, a claim his attorneys called unsupportable." Loyola Law School Professor LAURIE LEVENSON said that the grand jury "could subpoena the supporting documents from MLB, in addition to the documents requested from the McCourt representatives." She said the McCourt divorce proceedings and the Dodgers' subsequent bankruptcy filing also could provide documents for investigators to examine "a myriad of possible wrongdoing -- from tax violations, to loan fraud, to bankruptcy fraud, to private fraud." Shaikin notes Guggenheim Baseball Management spokesperson TRIPP KYLE "did not respond to messages asking whether McCourt had disclosed the investigation to the new owners and whether an indictment or conviction would enable them to void or renegotiate the agreement for joint ownership of the parking lots." The divorce and bankruptcy cases "led to revelations about how team money had been diverted for the personal use of the McCourts." Last year in a letter to Frank McCourt, MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG said that the IRS "was investigating the McCourts' tax returns from 2006, 2007 and 2008." The McCourt divorce settlement also "refers to possible penalties for tax returns in 2008 and 2009." In a divorce court filing, Jamie McCourt said that "the couple paid no federal or state income tax from 2004 to 2009" (L.A. TIMES, 5/31).
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