A Begrudging Thursday McCourt Update

I honestly do not enjoy following every last piece of minutiae about the ongoing McCourt embarrassment, and because of that I often I don’t post about every small detail here. That’s partially because people like Josh at Dodger Divorce do a much better job of breaking it down anyway, and partially because I long for the days when we were just baseball fans.

That said, today’s an off-day and Bill Shaikin & Jim Peltz at the LA Times have some interesting nuggets that I know people will want to discuss, so let’s get it out of the way. Time permitting, I’ll have a more baseball-related post this afternoon.

First, and hat-tip to Baseball Musings for this one, the Fox deal that Frank McCourt claims is his life line may not be as solid as he says:

Fox would not stand by Frank McCourt if the Dodgers owner were to ask a bankruptcy judge to order approval of the television contract rejected this week by Commissioner Bud Selig, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The Fox position would “severely complicate” any plans McCourt might have to file bankruptcy as a way to retain control of the Dodgers, said Rob Kampfner of White and Case, the firm that represented the incoming owners of the Texas Rangers through that club’s bankruptcy proceedings last year.

If McCourt cannot meet the Dodgers’ payroll next week, Selig could seize the team and put it up for sale. If McCourt were to take the Dodgers into bankruptcy before then, he could retain ownership through the proceedings, but without the Fox deal he would have a limited window of time to find the financing he has struggled to obtain for the last two years.

“Frank would go in and wouldn’t have an exit strategy,” Kampfner said.

A bankruptcy judge could overrule Selig and order approval of the Fox contract — one McCourt says could be worth $3 billion — to ensure the Dodgers’ creditors are paid in full. Fox would respond that it is not bound to the agreement since a contract has not been executed and it would not support the Dodgers’ owner should he ask a bankruptcy judge to implement the deal, said one of the people familiar with the matter who is not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the circumstances.

This is somewhat interesting, because one of the many objections baseball has had to this deal is that it’s generally considered a below-market price for a team such as the Dodgers (and as importantly, a market the size of Los Angeles), and that’s why Fox has been so happy to be involved. Why wouldn’t they be? So if they’re now potentially willing to turn their backs on Frank and forego a deal like that, you can imagine that it’s in large part because even they’re fed up with the bad PR here and don’t expect Frank to survive. Which he, you know, won’t.

Oh, and in case all the stories of lavish mansions, expensive haircuts, and Russian faith healers all paid for on the Dodger dime wasn’t disgusting enough… yeah, they basically stole from charity too.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt repaid more than $100,000 to a team charity after the state attorney general found the funds had been used primarily for the benefit of the club’s former chief executive, Jamie McCourt.

(snip)

In 2008, the Dream Foundation retained Sanderson Strategies as a consultant, in a contract the attorney general found was “primarily for the benefit of a member of the board of directors.” The attorney general’s letter did not name the director in question or what services that person received. However, based on interviews and federal tax records for the foundation, the director could only be Jamie McCourt.

The 2009 Dream Foundation tax filing outlined the Sanderson contract and included the notation of a possible “excess benefit” for one of its directors. The director wasn’t identified, but the filing said that person resigned from the foundation board on April 10, 2010.

“Mrs. McCourt resigned as of that day,” Choi said. Frank McCourt is the charity’s sole remaining director, Choi said.

Just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

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