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Judge to Frank and Jamie McCourt: 'Good luck to you'

January 19, 2012 | 11:50 am

Mccourt3Frank and Jamie McCourt filed for divorce on Oct. 27, 2009, six days after the Dodgers made their most recent playoff appearance.

The high-profile saga cost the family its ownership of the Dodgers and cost the parties more than $20 million in legal bills, believed to be the most expensive divorce in California history. The proceedings reached an anticlimactic end on Thursday, when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon approved a divorce settlement that requires Frank McCourt to pay his ex-wife $131 million.

The McCourts agreed on settlement terms in October, but the attorneys required another three months to agree on the language of the 23-page document that finalized those terms. On Thursday morning, as Frank McCourt sat on the bench outside Gordon's courtroom and Jamie McCourt sat on another bench down the hall, attorneys shuttled from one McCourt to the other to review the document.

Gordon then held a three-minute hearing in which both of the McCourts testified they had read the agreement, consulted with their attorneys about it, freely consented to it and wished to sign it. Gordon then ratified the agreement.

"Thank you, folks," Gordon said. "Good luck to you."

Frank McCourt has agreed to identify a winning bidder for the Dodgers by April 1 and complete the sale by April 30, the same date by which he must pay his ex-wife the $131 million. The complex organizational structure of the McCourt entities has led some bidders to suggest that a 30-day closing period might be insufficient.

The divorce settlement allows Jamie McCourt "joint control of the sales process" if she is not paid in full by April 30, although the $131 million amount would not change. If the sale of the Dodgers were delayed beyond April 30, Frank McCourt likely would obtain short-term financing to cover the payment to his ex-wife rather than risk (a) her involvement in the sales process, and (b) any court sanctions, according to parties familiar with the case but not authorized to discuss it.

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— Bill Shaikin

Photo: Frank and Jamie McCourt in 2006. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

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