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Dodgers bankruptcy not about hot dog stands, creditors say

October 18, 2011 |  4:53 pm

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is not the proper venue to address concession lines at Dodger Stadium, the committee representing creditors in the Dodgers bankruptcy case said Tuesday.

The committee and the Dodgers each filed formal opposition to the proposal for a separate committee to represent the interests of season-ticket holders. The court will consider the proposal on Oct. 25.

In their motion, the ticket holders said they deserved a say in the case in part because the value of season tickets could be affected by how the Dodgers get out of bankruptcy -- a television rights auction, a sale of the team or otherwise -- and how the proceeds are invested.

According to that filing, the tickets might already have been devalued because of "mismanagement such as the closure of needed concession stands and operation of understaffed and inefficient concession stands remaining that causes ticket holders to miss one or more innings while standing in insufferable lines for food."

In its response on Tuesday, the creditors' committee mocked that rationale.

"Put bluntly, any eventual reorganization plan ... will not include plans for how many hot dog stands will be in operation at Dodger Stadium," the filing read. "The plan will not include any covenant stating that no Dodgers fan will ever wait an entire inning for a fountain soda. ... These consumer concerns, if they come to fruition, are best addressed by consumer action -- refusing to purchase tickets for Dodgers games."

The Dodgers and the creditors' committee each claimed the ticket holders had no claim against the team, since every scheduled home game was played and every valid ticket was honored.

The ticket holders still can have a say in the case, but status as an official committee means the Dodgers have to pay for the lawyers and other expenses of that committee.

"The cost of paying for professionals to get up to speed and monitor the bankruptcy cases is not insubstantial," the Dodgers said in their filing.

Indeed, the Dodgers' public relations firm -- Kekst and Co. of New York -- on Tuesday submitted bills for $350,000 for work from the end of June to the end of September. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw earned $250,000 over the same time.

Kekst billed $22,117.50 for one day's work -- on June 27, the day the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy, when the firm reported eight of its staffers worked a combined 61.4 hours on the team's behalf.


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Photo: Dodger Stadium in 2004. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times