Dodgers Now

The Times' Dodgers reporters give you all the news on the boys in blue

« Previous Post | Dodgers Now Home | Next Post »

Jamie McCourt demands Dodgers' financial data, blasts Frank's 'secret deal' with Fox

March 1, 2011 |  3:34 pm

Frank McCourt has committed "flagrant breaches" of his duty to protect the financial interests of his ex-wife Jamie, in part by negotiating a "secret deal" with Fox that "would have endangered" the value of the Dodgers' broadcast contracts, attorneys for Jamie McCourt charged in a court filing on Tuesday.

Her attorneys asked that Frank be ordered to provide to Jamie extensive financial information regarding the Dodgers' business operations, including documents related to negotiations with television outlets and efforts to obtain additional financing for the cash-strapped franchise.

The court set a hearing for April 11.

In December, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon threw out an agreement that would have granted Frank sole ownership of the Dodgers. Jamie claims that decision makes her half-owner of the team under California community property law and, as such, entitles her to full financial disclosure about the couple's assets pending resolution of the divorce proceedings.

"Frank has consistently and wholly failed to comply," her lawyers wrote.

Frank argues the court invalidated the agreement but deferred the determination of who owns the Dodgers. His representatives could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday, but they have said Frank has complied with the law and would do nothing to diminish the value of the Dodgers.

"He is well aware of his responsibilities to the team, to the city and to his former wife," his spokesman Steve Sugerman said last week. "He takes these responsibilities seriously and is living up to them."

Sugerman's comment originally appeared in a Los Angeles Times report about Commissioner Bud Selig's decision to reject a proposal in which Fox would have lent Frank about $200 million, using the Dodgers' television rights as collateral.

Jamie and her advisors were "shocked" to read that report, according to the filing. Her lawyers called it "outrageous" that Frank had not disclosed the Fox discussions to Jamie and "equally outrageous" that she needed Selig to "protect the franchise's best interests given that California law imposes that very duty and obligation upon Frank, since he runs the Dodgers."

In the filing, her attorneys asked that the court order Frank to turn over all documents related to the Dodgers' broadcast rights negotiations, cash advances, loan applications, financing arrangements, debt payments and schedules, and audited financial results.

Her attorneys are also asking for documents related to payments from Major League Baseball. The financially troubled New York Mets last year received a $25-million loan from MLB, the New York Times and New York Daily News reported last week.

The filing includes a Feb. 16 letter from Sorrell Trope, an attorney for Frank, to Mike Kump, an attorney for Jamie. In the letter, Trope wrote that Frank is "fully committed to adhering to his … legal obligations."

Trope also wrote that Jamie's claims stem from the "flawed premises" that the Dodgers are community property and that she is half-owner.

In addition, Trope blasted Kump for sending copies of correspondence to MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred — Selig's point man on the Dodgers' affairs — and to the MLB's general counsel, Tom Ostertag.

"It is counterproductive and, frankly, inappropriate," Trope wrote. "Involving them appears calculated to harm the Dodgers and create a further spectacle that ultimately does not benefit any party to this action."

-- Bill Shaikin