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Tom Schieffer has busy first full day: Dodgers make payroll, and he meets with Frank McCourt

Tom-schieffer_300 First full day on the job and already monitor-trustee-overseer-receiver-ambassador Tom Schieffer is showing great progress.

The Dodgers made payroll.

That’s right boys and girls, Andre Ethier and Roger "Peanut Man" Owens can cash their checks.

Schieffer had himself a busy first day, he got an office at Dodger Stadium, met with general manager Ned Colletti, the players -- and Frank McCourt.

"It was a cordial meeting," Schieffer said. "I think everything got off to a good start.

"He obviously would prefer that I wasn’t here. That’s OK with me; I understand that. And I think we can get this done. I think we’ve come a long way in a couple of days here."

McCourt, who had termed Schieffer more a receiver taking over the club than the monitor he was termed by Commissioner Bud Selig, asked Schieffer what his role would be.

"I guess that probably came up," Schieffer said. "He wants to know what I think my role is, and I was trying to explain that I think my role is to be the last check on what’s going on. And trying to study the situation, investigate the situation and try to determine what the facts are. If we can determine what the facts are, then the options I would take would be pretty obvious afterwards."

"There have obviously been some problems here and I’m trying to figure out what those problems are, what they really are -- not rumor, not innuendo -- what the plan is for addressing them.

"Major League Baseball wants this to be the model franchise it’s been in the past."

McCourt had personally borrowed $30 million from Fox to meet payroll in April. Schieffer would not comment if the team had the resources to meet payroll next month.

Since McCourt runs the Dodgers under multiple entities, some that pay each other, figuring out the organizational finances figure to be more challenging than at most baseball clubs.

 "This is a pretty complicated situation," Schieffer said.

"That’s something where you have to follow the dollar from place to place. That’s certainly one of the things you look at."

Schieffer said he would be the final approval on any change in the budget, but that McCourt could still veto a trade before it ever got to him.

Schieffer said he assured Colletti he would operate normally and only need his approval for an increase in the budget. He said he wanted to meet with the team to let them know he would not be interfering with their play on the field.

"I don’t want to be in the clubhouse, but I need to tell the players that," he said.

Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, now an MLB executive, was with Schieffer again Friday and hoped he would continue as a resource.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Tom Schieffer. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (5)

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Coy seems the word to apply to Schieffer. Serenely biding time while the finances are unraveled.

Do Schieffer and MLB know that McCourt is going to need certain quantities of money from Dodgers revenue to pay his bills within a certain number of days and are waiting for him to default so they have the grounds to declare him an incompetent steward and put the team up for sale?

It would seem so. They would not take over a franchise as they have without more knowledge than they say they have. The key that spurred the takeover seems to have been the necessity of the $30 million loan early in the month. That McCourt used only $20 mill on the team and kept $10 for himself, if he can be believed, which he can't, seems to confirm the conclusion that the Dodger well has been drier than his needs, and that there is a continuing need to suck some big bucks from another source, to pay the bills of both entities, his and the Dodgers. That McCourt has made such a big deal of the Fox contract that has been nixed seems to make it the only source he has. The dam that MLB has put between him and that source seems to hint that they are waiting for a meltdown, either for the team, for which MLB will provide the funds and bill McCourt, or for himself, or both.

McCourt may have constructed a Rube Goldberg chart designed to do something along the lines of shuttle money, too much, to him, from the Dodgers, in a way that he wanted to keep undetected. It could be that when the contingent from MLB came to oversee the new security system a few weeks ago, they caught wind of what was going on and reported to Selig they had to strike quickly, to nip McCourt's operation in the bud, to force his debt service system out in the open. Selig announced MLB's takeover within three days of that weekend. Why else would McCourt have set up the elaborate flow chart from one "separate" entity to the other, when simplifying it would have been easier to administer?

@Native Angeleno: As reported by The Times, one of the reasons MLB hasn't approved the Fox contract could be that Jamie hasn't approved it, which makes MLB wary of being drawn into the who-owns-the-Dodgers debacle and makes any talk of MLB trying to squeeze out current ownership very speculative. Why don't we all just focus on what happens on the field and leave the rest alone?

It was a military coup d'etat with LBJ waiting in the wings.

Not saying Schieffer isn't the right man for the job - it appears he is, but does anybody else see the irony of putting a former politician in charge of finances?

and Torre is just smacking his lips there, waiting to get a bite out of this organization.


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