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Frank McCourt 'not concerned about cash,' financial advisor testifies [Updated]

September 27, 2010 |  6:41 pm

Even before they moved to Los Angeles and bought four houses here, Frank and Jamie McCourt’s spending was like a runaway train -- one reason one of their advisors suggested they rein it in when he wrote them an e-mail, aptly titled “Whoa, Nellie.”

“I get a little concerned when I hear about: redecorating the room next to Frank with plasma screens and custom tables and lord knows what else,” Jeffrey Ingram, chief operating officer of the McCourt group, wrote to the couple in January 2003, a year before the Dodgers deal went through.

He listed 10 other things that worried him, including the couple's fractional share in private jets and their desire to have a well-known artist paint a mural for Frank’s office.

"None of these by itself is a killer," Ingram wrote, "but collectively I bet it adds up to a fair chunk of change that we don't have yet."

He signed his e-mail, “The Wet Blanket.”

“Frank was not concerned about cash. He was more concerned about creating value in his businesses,” said Ingram on Monday afternoon during the McCourts' divorce trial. Ingram, who looks like George Plimpton and has some of the late essayist’s wry wit -- at least in e-mails -- was called by Frank’s attorneys to testify that Frank was the risk-taker and Jamie was risk-averse.

[Corrected, 7:22 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled George Plimpton's last name as Plympton.]

“Jamie was interested in getting a nest egg and getting liquidity for her family,” Ingram testified.

Frank’s lawyers contend that Jamie considered the acquisition of the Dodgers a big risk and wanted no part of ownership in and liability for the team.

In a January 2001 e-mail, Ingram warned the McCourts that they might run out of cash in six to eight months. “Stock Smelling Salts in the office,” he added. “At this rate, I’m going to need them.”

Later, Jamie’s attorney, Michael Kump, said Ingram’s testimony showed what Jamie has long contended -- that they made decisions and spent money together.

“We’ve heard about how it’s Jamie’s spending money, it’s Jamie buying houses. It’s their spending,” Kump said.

-- Carla Hall at Los Angeles Superior Court