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Dodgers to bankruptcy judge: Six more months, please

October 24, 2011 |  8:30 pm


The Dodgers asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross to extend their exclusive window to propose a reorganization plan for the team until April 25, according to a court filing late Monday.

The request, if granted, would enable embattled owner Frank McCourt to control the Dodgers through the start of the 2012 season.

Major League Baseball has asked Gross to terminate the Dodgers' exclusivity so the league can propose a reorganization plan of its own — that is, to get the team sold this winter. Gross wrote last month that he intended "a prompt disposition of the key issues" so that the Dodgers could "utilize the approaching off season to prepare for the 2012 season."

The Dodgers said in their filing that they needed the extra time because they have been spurned by MLB and Fox Sports in efforts to hold discussions and build consensus on a reorganization plan.

"In its place, those parties have substituted no-holds-barred litigation," according to the filing.

Fox opposes the centerpiece of McCourt's reorganization strategy — an auction of the Dodgers' television rights that Fox says would violate its current broadcast contract — and the Dodgers say that even seven weeks of mediation with Commissioner Bud Selig proved fruitless.

"Unfortunately, the Commissioner has made clear that ... he will not agree to any plan of reorganization that does not involve a forced sale of the Dodgers," the team said in its filing.

The Dodgers called such extensions "routine" in significant bankruptcy cases. They said the case includes "thousands of creditors" and assets — the baseball team, Dodger Stadium and surrounding land — valued by McCourt and his advisors at "well in excess of $1 billion."

— Bill Shaikin


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Photo: Frank McCourt after a session in divorce court. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters