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Frank McCourt's lawyer: Don't force us to sue

June 21, 2011 |  4:34 pm

Photo: Frank McCourt. Credit: Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg. The commissioner of baseball ought to sit down and negotiate with Frank McCourt instead of forcing the Dodgers owner to file a lawsuit, the attorney for McCourt said Tuesday.

Bob Sacks, the attorney, also said McCourt would not surrender control of Dodger Stadium, the surrounding land and some ticket revenues even if he loses ownership of the Dodgers. Sacks said the entities controlling those interests are separate from the Dodgers and would remain under McCourt's control, which would require any new owner to pay tens of millions in revenue each year to McCourt.

"There is the possibility of some fairly acrimonious and extreme litigation going forward, which Frank is hopeful will not occur," Sacks said. "If baseball were to act precipitously against Frank, which has been threatened, then there will be a showdown on that issue."

PHOTOS: The Dodgers and the McCourts

If McCourt fails to meet the Dodgers' June 30 payroll -- an event that appears increasingly likely, after Commissioner Bud Selig vetoed a proposed television contract with Fox on Monday -- then Selig could seize the team and put it up for sale. Under the Major League Baseball constitution, the commissioner also would be authorized to "operate or dispose of the baseball park ... and any other property, contracts ... or other rights the Commissioner shall designate."

Said MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred: "We are confident in our legal position that the multitude of legal assets created by Mr. McCourt that hold club assets are bound by the major league constitution."

After Frank and Jamie McCourt reached a divorce settlement on Friday -- contingent upon the Fox agreement -- Sacks said Frank McCourt got "zero responses" from Selig to two letters and a phone call.

"He has basically been invisible. He has not responded to Frank," Sacks said. "Baseball is acting based on misinformation. I don't think the commissioner really has the information."

Manfred said McCourt and his representatives have discussed the Fox deal in numerous meetings in the commissioner's office over the past several months. Manfred said McCourt submitted written information about the divorce settlement, which was considered before Selig announced his rejection of the Fox deal on Monday.

"It is really outrageous that an outside lawyer who does not know Commissioner Selig and does not know how this office operates would make the assertion the commissioner does not understand this transaction," Manfred said. "Commissioner Selig has forgotten more about television transactions than Mr. Sacks will ever know."

We'll have more later at latimes.com/sports.

RELATED:

Bud Selig shows he thinks Dodgers deserve better

Bud Selig rejects Dodgers TV contract

McCourts have killed the joy of watching the Dodgers play

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Frank McCourt. Credit: Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg.

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