Dodgers' sale: Falling deeper into the Frank McCourt rabbit hole
Even as we supposedly approach the end of this mescaline-shrouded trip of an ownership sale, the tale continues to grow curiouser and curiouser.
Really, the whole thing is so completely bizarre. The cast of characters is all over the map, beginning, of course, with Frank McCourt, who bought the Dodgers with equity in a parking lot, mismanaged the team into bankruptcy and almost a billion in debt, and is still about to exit a ridiculously wealthy man.
And then there are the bidders. They include a guy who once interviewed to be their general manager (Dennis Gilbert), a guy who used to be their general manager (Fred Claire), a guy who used to be their manager (Joe Torre), a couple who used to play for them (Steve Garvey, Orel Hershiser) and a guy who used to own them (Peter O’Malley).
Then there are guys who won NBA championships (Magic Johnson), one who owns the current champion (Mark Cuban) and another who owns an NFL team (Stan Kroenke).
There are stupid-rich investment guys (Steve Cohen, Tom Barrack, Stanley Gold), stupid-rich guys who may yet jump in (Patrick Soon-Shiong, Ron Burkle), guys who are agents (Arn Tellum), who built TV networks (Leo Hindry) and actual TV networks (Fox, Time Warner, Comcast). Alas, sadly the Dilbeck Investment Group has been left a financial casualty, although the good news is I do get to keep the 2005 Accord.
Some have advanced and some have not, though apparently they can get slip back in if they only up their initial bid by another $200 million or so.
And yet somehow this ongoing sale still grows more fantastic. The Times’ Bill Shaikin reported that in addition to the original final eight approved by McCourt for the auction, there is a ninth named Jared Kushner, the 31-year-old son-in-law of Donald Trump. Listen, David Lynch hit on the head couldn’t come up with this stuff.
Kushner is the son of New York real estate mogul Charles Kushner, who served prison time for what the New Times said was for “orchestrating one of the more memorable get-even schemes perpetrated in the name of sibling rivalry. He had hired a prostitute to entrap his brother-in-law and captured their encounter on hidden camera to show his sister.” Aldous Huxley on a psychedelic flashback couldn’t come up with this stuff.
Baby-faced Jared Kushner has zero experience in sports management, though that hardly makes him unique in this group. His claim to fame is buying the New York Observer in 2006. He is now on his fourth editor. He also used family money to purchase a Manhattan office building for a record $1.8 billion in 2006, which the New York Times said is now bleeding money.
Shaikin said Kushner family money would primarily be used for his bid on the Dodgers. Ain’t that just swell? A silver-spooned sports neophyte with inherited money and connected to Trump. What could go wrong?
Maybe you think it cannot possibly grow more preternatural, but just wait, tomorrow calls.
— Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt bids farewell to retiring Manager Joe Torre in October of 2010. Now Torre could be part of the ownership group that McCourt selects to replace him. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press