Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is Frank hiding assets?

Jamie's lawyers seem to think so, according to this KTLA report.
[Jamie's attorney Dennis] Wasser also said the issue of spousal support -- set for hearing on March 29 -- is not close to being resolved. He said he expects the evidence to show that Frank has spent money on other things than his family and the team.
"We're going to explore where the money went," Wasser said.
Well, the first part of that is sort of ridiculous. Many people have this notion that when a team signs a player, the owner takes his horse-drawn carriage down to the general store and withdraws an bag of silver doubloons on deposit with which he pays the player. It doesn't quite work like that. So to say that Frank hasn't been spending money on the team is, well, to be expected. During the period Jamie held herself out as an owner, I'd like to ask, how many times did she spend personal money on the team? From the sound of things, it was the other way around.

Wasser's point is a valid one, though. Remember a few weeks ago when Frank claimed that, at one point, his personal liquidity fell below $167,000? That can't be completely true. Or, at least, I don't want it to be true. I don't want the owner of a professional sports franchise with a value approaching a billion dollars to be that cash poor.

Think about this. Let's call Frank McCourt's assets, assuming a post-nup win, $1 billion--$1,000,000,000. He claims to have been down to $167,000 in cash recently. I'm no mathemagician, but watch this:

$1,000,000,000 in assets, $167,000 in cash.

If your assets were worth one million dollars and you were as cash-poor as McCourt says he was, you would have one hundred sixty-seven dollars.

Does that make sense to you? Surely you see why I don't want to believe this. Such dismal liquidity would make misusing Dodgers assets a little more attractive, wouldn't it?

I'm inclined to believe Jamie's lawyers here. I cannot imagine Frank was in that bad shape. The key question then, will be: where is the money? If he started shuttling cash around in anticipation of a judicial inquiry into his balance sheet, you can bet there will be a whole lot of folks who smell blood in the water. And the line will form behind Dennis Wasser.

Any sixth grader can tell you that if you cheat on a test, you're better off not getting a 98%. And if you hide cash, you'd better leave a plausible amount behind.

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