Friday, August 27, 2010

Counting down, and what's to come.

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Exactly ten months ago, Jamie McCourt filed for a divorce from her husband of nearly 30 years. From the outset, the dispute centered on a short document, signed by the couple in the Spring of 2004, called a Marital Property Agreement. The contract, which purports to give Frank the Dodgers and Jamie the couple's residential real estate holdings in a divorce, will be tested for enforceability beginning next week.

If this isn't the end, you can at least start to see it from here. After several months of haggling over issues large (private jets) and small (staples), the McCourt divorce comes down to the validity of a few pages of boring, neat legal text. And though a settlement appeared to be growing in likelihood only weeks ago, every indication remains that the trial will start Monday as scheduled.

So what can you expect from me?

Sunday, I will post a comprehensive preview of the trial. You know the basics: if the MPA holds, Frank keeps the team, and Jamie walks. If the MPA is struck down, the McCourts would have to work together to keep the team in the family, or--more likely--would be forced to sell the team. With the trial preview I'm posting Sunday, the goal would be for you to know pretty darned well what's going on if you happened to find yourself in the courtroom. Think of it as a viewer's guide to the McCourt trial.

During the week, I will post updates here as possible, likely multiple times each day. Quicker notes and nuggets are easier to share via Twitter, where you can find me listed as @DodgerDivorce. If you're not into Twitter but still want to stay abreast, just point your browser to www.twitter.com/DodgerDivorce. This works for other people who will have news and notes, too, like @Molly_Knight and @dylanohernandez.

We'll also try to do some fun stuff too, so check back here for updates. Finally, if there's anything you want to talk about, or would like me to cover in detail before the trial, please let me know in the comments, by e-mail, or through my Twitter account. I have little idea exactly how the next few days will play out, logistically, but it's exciting to know that, one way or the other, the Dodgers short- and mid-term future will be resolved shortly.
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11 comments:

  1. Please provide information on Dodger Stadium improvement plans, Jamie's presidential ambitions, and the psychic consultant.

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  2. Good Luck. I hope you don't get there only to find out there is a settlement on the courthouse steps.

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  3. Could you give any advice to those of us who are thinking of trying to attend the trial. What time we should show up to the courthouse and that other fun stuff?

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  4. What improvement plans? Loge and Reserve levels were supposed to be done by now and they haven't...........

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  5. The MPA's main intent was to protect the McCourt's personal assets in case of a bankruptcy, not a divorce... Many commercial developers will separate assets because the volatility of Commercial Real Estate. How the McCourts acted with taking out over $100 million out of Dodger Organization , isn't exactly abiding by the MPA agreement. Technically, if Jamie took out the much of the money, she has to pay that back, or out of her final settlement.. Frank also co sign many of the mortgages of the houses in Southern California, which again isn't abiding by MPA, and make him and the Dodgers liable for the mortgages if they go into default.

    It is not the validity of the MPA, it is if the the MPA is in compliance with the Community Property Laws of the State of California. The MPA could be thrown out over the words "exclusive" and inclusive. It also could be dismiss because it is unfair for Jamie, who was an officer of the Dodgers, worked with Frank for years on the Seaport Square property and the McCourt company etc.

    It really depends on what Judge Gordon will use as precedent for his decision, and he is not going to do anything that is haphazard or impulsive. He has his own reputation on the line, because whatever his decision on the MPA, it is going to be appealed. His findings and judgment have to be pretty bombproof so it won't be overturned.

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  6. Doesn't the California State law say Jaime is entitled to half? I mean they've been married for almost 30 years! No matter what documents they have the Dodgers where bought DURING their marriage. Isn't it the law to split all assets? God I hope Judge Gordon force the McCourts to sell!!! I'll be praying for our boys in blue.

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  7. In response to Anonymous

    The judge can ruled that the MPA supersedes California Community Property Law, because it is a written contract. This is what Frank McCourt's legal team is praying for, and given the specific details of the MPA, it could hold up in the divorce court.

    However, California is a probably the most comprehensive community property states in the US. I don't see Jamie getting a judgement that she is only left with the property which is worth much less than the Dodgers, even though many assets have a huge amount of leverage on them..

    My guess of what is probably going to happened, is that the Judge will rule that Frank is the sole owner of the LA Dodgers as stated in the MPA. However, Jamie will be entitled to half the value of all their assets, or close to half as possible.

    What will be interesting, is the Court's findings of the total value of all the assets that the McCourt owned, and the financial payout to Jamie. If the court case is not going well for either side, there will be settlement talks.

    If Jamie gets a large settlement, like close to half the value of all the McCourts' assets, she will probably get some sort of deferred payments like many Dodger Players, with a big chunk of TV revenue either from a Dodgers Sport channel or from a renewal of a TV deal with a TV/Cable network.

    If one is going to swear by the MPA, as the gold standard, Jamie has to pay back a huge amount of the money that she and Frank took out of the Dodgers, given technically, the money was not her to use for private jets, hairdressers, etc, they were technically, loans from Frank's business, (Much like Frank has to pay an obscene amount of Capital Gain taxes if he sells the Dodgers) Ditto that many of the houses that Jamie bought in Southern California, or remodeled, was from money from the Dodgers, and she probably has to pay it back, if the MPA is looked upon as written in stone.

    I think the MPA seemed has some strong legal standing, but the actions of the McCourts after they signed it, has made a mockery of it. Going back to it, to be used as a legal shield is disingenuous, and also kind of pathetic to keep the Dodger ownership and half its value away from Jamie.

    Both sides are really disingenuous, and should be ashamed of their behavior, but I always had a tough time with Frank's side, because some of the debt load that Frank took to buy and run the Dodgers.

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  8. Awesome blog! Love your hyphens and suspended hyphens!

    Please be so kind as to report on Jamie McCourt's place in the fashion spotlight - shoes, earrings? fabric, texture, accessories...

    As for Frank, a daily description of his tie will suffice.

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  9. Lets get to the more important stuff please.

    I want to know about the allegations of Jamie playing footsie with a former Dodger employee!
    What are the sons take on all this love being spread around? Do the sons have a stake in any of the Dodger enterprise?

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  10. Is there any chance that the judge, in complete pity for us Dodger fans, sentences these two idiots to life on Anthrax Island?

    Please dear God!

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