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Judge's ruling in favor of Jamie McCourt is based on legal fundamentals

For all the revelations from the divorce proceedings between Frank and Jamie McCourt -- side-by-side homes in Holmby Hills and Malibu, the Dodgers charging themselves millions in rent each year, the payments to Russian physicist Vladimir Shpunt for channeling positive thoughts to the team -- the reason for Tuesday's court ruling was fundamental and technical.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon threw out an agreement that would have divided the McCourt assets and left Frank with sole ownership of the Dodgers because the agreement -- known by its initials as an MPA -- did not conform to California law.

"The Court finds that the MPA was not a valid transmutation," Gordon wrote, citing a legal term for transferring what would otherwise be community property into the sole and separate property of one spouse or another.

That could be disturbing news at Bingham McCutchen, the Boston-based firm that employed Larry Silverstein, the lawyer who drafted the agreement. Gordon also wrote that Silverstein's admission that he switched a page of the agreement after the McCourts had signed it and without notifying them "is troubling and has introduced great challenges in this case. The evidence does not produce a reasonable explanation for Silverstein's exchange of such critical documents without notification or consultation of the parties."

Silverstein argued that his document switch merely corrected an error, replacing a page that specified the Dodgers were not Frank's sole property with one that specified they were, in accordance with what he said was the intent of the parties. However, given such a fundamental difference between the two documents, Gordon wrote: "The Court finds that there has not been sufficient evidence presented to indicate which of the two materially inconsistent MPA's represented the actual intent of the parties."

Legal experts have said Frank could file a malpractice claim against Bingham if he can show he lost ownership of the Dodgers because of Silverstein's mistakes.

Gordon also ruled that McCourt's testimony about not knowing or reviewing the details of the agreement was not believable.

"The testimony of both parties as to their lack of knowledge and attention to the details of the MPA is not credible," Gordon said.

-- Bill Shaikin

Comments () | Archives (7)

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HALLELUJAH! Sell the team and get out of LA you, you bankrupt charlatans!

Go back to Boston! Bud Selig you made one of the most stupid mistakes of your career by allowing the sale of a storied franchise to a parking lot attendant. Oscar De La Hoya as owner!

What a revelation - they're both liars.

Go home, McCourts. You're both disgraces. Frank trying to squeeze every dime out of the Dodgers until they're bankrupt, and trying to screw Jamie. And Jamie for screwing the chauffeur.

You two clowns deserve each other. Why not go back to Boston and reconcile, AFTER YOU'VE SOLD THE TEAM or MLB takes it away from you.

(Maybe Larry Silverstein can write a reconciliation agreement for the two of you. And slip in a few pages a year or so from the date of signing.)


I have the feeling this will become the best possible outcome as we move forward into the long run. The short run for us will continue to be murky.

Neither side credible on a key issue? Now I know nobody among us is surprised by that remark.

Malpractice suit will be forthcoming - you know Frank needs the money. So a race is on for him to win that lawsuit before he's out of money to be able to co-own the Dodgers or get Jamie bought out.

Regardless of what ultimately happens with the McCourts, how un-amazing it is that a California judge found a way to condemn the law by the law! I wouldn't be one bit surprised if the judge got his start as one of the NYC police officers that had their way with Abner Louima and the handle of a plunger. These judges have become experts in breaking the laws as opposed to upholding and defending them. Lazy people will always find a complex way to shield their slothfulness with respect to doing their job, and they don't care about the lives they destroy and the teams they destroy in the process. I still love you Dodgers, even though you let Popeye get away years ago and let Pierre and O'Dawg get away most recently.

So Jamie tells Frank she'll settle but at the amount her team values the Dodgers. This of course is ridiculous because it is based on "future" valuations. Jamie is not going to yield. Is Frank going to overpay? Hell no. So what is the only alternative, SELL THE TEAM and split the proceeds 50/50.

Why drag this on Frank? To further enrich your legal team?? To screw LA by deliberately lowering the value of the Dodgers and stick it to Jamie???

SELL THE TEAM Frank. Your legal arguments for ownership will not work in a Community Property state, particularly California. Don't drag the Dodgers through the mud. Do something right for a change, SELL THE TEAM and move on.


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