Could Dodgers bankruptcy delay lead to settlement?
By postponing the Dodgers' bankruptcy trial, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross effectively has provided another month for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Commissioner Bud Selig to reach a settlement.
Gross issued his postponement order on Wednesday, before the start of a scheduled status conference with attorneys regarding the trial that would have taken place next week. Settlement talks are expected to take place before the new trial date of Nov. 29, according to multiple people familiar with the case.
Gross appointed a mediator in July, asking him to report at the conclusion of mediation whether a settlement had been reached. The mediator, retired U.S. District Judge Joseph Farnan, held seven weeks of settlement talks over the summer, according to court papers filed this week. However, Farnan has yet to file the report that would indicate mediation has ended.
McCourt has asked for permission to sell the Dodgers' television rights, the key to his strategy to emerge from bankruptcy as the team's owner. Selig has asked the court to order the Dodgers sold.
No party has supported McCourt's proposal, which is opposed by Selig and Fox Sports. The creditors' committee this week asked Gross to reject McCourt's proposal but defer any ruling on Selig's request so the parties could discuss a "consensual exit strategy" that would satisfy creditors and "provide for the smooth transition of ownership."
-- Bill Shaikin
Photo: Frank McCourt, left, and Bud Selig in 2004. Credit: Jeff Gritchen / Long Beach Press-Telegram