Frank McCourt reaches out to Tom Schieffer; son Drew McCourt tweets that MLB statement is 'not truthful'
On the morning after Dodgers owner Frank McCourt defiantly vowed that Major League Baseball would not take the team from him, McCourt reached out to Tom Schieffer, the trustee installed by Commissioner Bud Selig to oversee the Dodgers' business and financial operations.
Dodgers Vice Chairman Steve Soboroff said Thursday that McCourt put in a call to Schieffer. Soboroff also said Schieffer would be welcome to use his office at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.
In a news conference Wednesday, two days after Selig appointed him to run the Dodgers, Schieffer said he had yet to speak with McCourt but hoped the two men could "have a nice visit and see what it is he's concerned about."
Meanwhile, Frank's son Drew took to Twitter on Thursday morning, challenging the statement by MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred that Frank McCourt was "not accurate" in recounting his Wednesday meeting with Manfred and other MLB officials.
"Recap of meeting with baseball was 100% accurate," Drew McCourt wrote. "Manfred's comment not truthful."
The McCourts -- and the rest of the Dodgers executives who participated in Wednesday's meeting -- were most incensed by this comment from Manfred: "There has been no seizure of the Los Angeles Dodgers."
While MLB has not revoked Frank McCourt's ownership, Selig has empowered Schieffer with financial authority over the franchise and has not approved a television contract with Fox that would have provided McCourt with a financial lifeline.
That effectively constitutes a seizure, according to those close to McCourt, since his inability to access Dodgers funds could force him to miss financial obligations. At that point, Selig could say he has the evidence to show that McCourt is financially unfit to own the Dodgers and say he must install new owners.
"There has been a predetermined result here, and that the investigation is not a genuine one," Frank McCourt said in his news conference on Wednesday.
McCourt said he would welcome an MLB investigation so long as Selig approved the Fox contract. McCourt said the deal could be worth "in excess of" $3 billion, equal to or better than comparable television contracts.
"This transaction is good for the Dodgers, whether I'm the owner or somebody else is the owner," McCourt said.
McCourt said the deal would provide about $300 million in immediate funds and said he would put all of that money into the team. However, according to a person familiar with Wednesday's meeting, McCourt said in the meeting that he might use $20 million to repay himself for the personal loan he needed to meet the season's first payroll.
McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, took more than $100 million from Dodgers revenues for their personal use, according to court documents. That diversion has angered Selig and other owners in part because of the extravagant lifestyle revealed in divorce proceedings, and has left the commissioner skeptical about approving any deal that would provide McCourt with significant up-front payments, according to a person familiar with Selig's thinking.
"They want us to rubber-stamp the deal with the history of the money they have misused?" said the person, not authorized to speak publicly because of the prospect of McCourt filing suit against the league.
McCourt and his lieutenants continued Thursday to press Selig for a in-person meeting that the commissioner has thus far declined to grant. If McCourt files suit, the case could require years -- and millions of dollars -- to litigate.
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Frank McCourt, owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, listens during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York on Thursday. Credit: Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg