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Dodgers bid deadline delayed to Jan. 23

January 3, 2012 |  3:07 pm

Dodger

The Dodgers have extended the deadline by which prospective buyers must submit their opening bids for the team.

Bids now are due Jan. 23. The deadline was delayed 10 days to accommodate the "substantial interest of potential bidders," Dodgers spokesman Robert Siegfried said.

Siegfried said the delay had "nothing to do" with the ongoing dispute over whether the Dodgers can sell their television rights along with the team. U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Stark has granted Fox Sports a stay that forbids the Dodgers from marketing their TV rights, pending a Jan. 12 hearing.

The sale agreement between outgoing owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball set Jan. 13 as the "goal" for potential buyers to submit opening bids. The agreement stipulates that McCourt shall identify the winning bidder by April 1 and complete the sale by April 30.

Also Tuesday, the Dodgers asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve a $1-million settlement with Geoff Wharton, their former chief operating officer.

According to court documents, McCourt hired Wharton to lead the Dodgers' "Next 50" stadium renovation plan, announced in 2008 and targeted for completion "by Opening Day of the 2012 season." McCourt failed to secure financing for the project and abandoned it by the end of 2009.

McCourt, who had agreed to pay Wharton $1 million per year in salary and $500,000 per year in a deferred bonus, then installed him as the Dodgers' COO. The Dodgers cut ties with Wharton earlier this year, and the $1-million settlement represents two years of deferred bonuses.

Wharton surfaced in the McCourt divorce case when court documents showed the Dodgers funneled approximately $4 million in 2010 — including Wharton's salary — to the construction company overseeing the already-halted Next 50 project. 

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— Bill Shaikin

Photo: Dodger Stadium. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times.

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