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Frank McCourt and Bill Burke: Not pals

Photo: Dodgers Stadium. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Reuters.  Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his representatives have been quiet since the team filed for bankruptcy protection June 27. There has been no public response to the $1.2-billion offer for the team last week from a group led by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke.

McCourt's spokesman, Steve Sugerman, spoke up on Friday. A Times story reporting how one of McCourt's attorneys had dismissed the Burke bid as a "publicity stunt" in court documents also referenced "suggestions circulating within Major League Baseball's offices that Burke had somehow allied with McCourt on a bid that could be used to set the market for an eventual sale price."

That prompted Sugerman to shoot back at MLB.

"Any source who would suggest that Bill Burke is a friend of Frank's is uninformed," said Sugerman. "Mr. Burke is not even an acquaintance of Frank McCourt, and his offer for the team was unsolicited and a surprise. Beyond that, we have nothing more to share."

The bankruptcy proceedings have laid bare the massive mutual distrust between McCourt and the commissioner's office. At one point, McCourt's attorneys said that accepting interim funding from MLB would be comparable to "a deal with the devil." In this case, MLB officials noted the vague references to funding in the Burke bid proposal and suspected aloud that McCourt might have been involved with a bid that put a significantly higher value on the Dodgers than did most industry analysts.


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-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Dodgers Stadium. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Reuters.

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