Frank McCourt to Bud Selig: Who's taken more money out of MLB?
If baseball's most significant grievance against Frank McCourt is that he took money out of the Dodgers and put it in his own pocket, then the Dodgers owner has this to say to Commissioner Bud Selig: You took more money out of baseball and stuffed it into your pocket.
The unusually personal allegation, included as a footnote to a generally unrelated filing in McCourt's divorce case in Los Angeles Superior Court, heightened the level of discord in a bankruptcy case that appears less about the Dodgers fighting Major League Baseball and more about McCourt fighting Selig.
In the filing, attorneys for McCourt reference the oft-cited claim that the Dodgers owner diverted more than $100 million from team revenues for personal use.
"The claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers over the course of seven years is patently false," according to the filing. "Moreover, even taking the Commissioner's false claim that $100 million was taken out of the Dodgers at face value, it is difficult to understand how the Commissioner can complain about this when he pays himself a salary of approximately $20 million a year -- meaning that he has taken out between $120 million and $140 million from baseball revenues during the same period that he complains about $100 million being taken out by the owner of a team."
Selig's annual salary is $18.35 million, according to the most recent MLB tax documents available online.
In a statement in response, MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred agreed that McCourt had not taken $100 million from the team.
"The claim that Mr. McCourt took $100 million is patently false. He took a lot more than that," Manfred said. "Unlike Mr. McCourt, the commissioner does not engage in self-dealings. Whatever the commissioner receives is determined and approved by the clubs."
In a Bankruptcy Court filing on July 18, McCourt's attorneys revealed that MLB alleged the owner had taken "more than $180 million" out of the Dodgers. Selig had approved the business organization to which he now objects, the filing read, including the separation of the team, stadium and land into separate entities. As a result, McCourt's attorneys said their client had "taken distributions 'from the Dodgers' of less than $30 million."
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Frank McCourt. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press.