Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Having cake and eating it, too.

In recently filed court documents related to the divorce, Frank McCourt essentially argues that Jamie wanted the protection of the MPA with none of its restrictions. Jamie has attacked the MPA, which purports to leave her with no claim to the Dodgers, under several legal theories. One of her favorite positions during the litigation has been that her lifelong dream has been to own a baseball team. She uses this to demonstrate that she would never knowingly sign away her rights to Dodgers ownership.

Frank's latest filings, several details of which are available in this TMZ report, claim that Jamie did not support the purchase of the Dodgers, at least on the terms of the transaction. As you know, Frank McCourt bought the club largely, if not entirely, on credit. Uncomfortable with the riskiness of the transaction, Frank claims, Jamie was eager to protect her own interests using the same division of property the couple had put in place for other business ventures. The couple's residential real estate holdings would be Jamie's property, and the business entities Frank's.

Of course, the sequence of events following the Dodgers purchase was, if not entirely unpredictable, still massively shocking. The world turned upside down; the Dodgers have about doubled in value, while the real estate market is in shambles. It is here that Frank suggests Jamie developed a sense of opportunism. He contends that, in 2008, Jamie asked for the couple's agreement to be modified to give her half the Dodgers. Frank rejected her request, and the couple separated the following summer.

It would be inappropriate to label only Jamie with the "opportunist" tag. Whether the culmination of years of planning or simply by way of happenstance, Frank essentially found himself in a pretty spot. What he got in the MPA--the Dodgers--had grown in value, while his soon-to-be-ex-wife's prospective take had shrunk dramatically. Refusing to revisit the MPA surely doomed the marriage, as he must have known it would.

Nothing all that new comes out of what I've seen from today's filings. The takeaway is this: to the extent the McCourts' intentions matter in determining the validity of the MPA, how the parties felt some time after executing the document is irrelevant. Their actions and words in the contemplation and construction of the MPA matter. The downstream consequences of the MPA do not. Put it this way: in this situation, cause means more than effect.


  1. OK, I just read the TMZ report and I have to say this - anything that begins with "Frank says" is something that I find immediately suspect.

    This guy is slicker than K-Y. I am not saying Jamie has any more credibility, but, come on - this he says she says thing is ludicrous.

    Settle now or go to court, but all of this media drama is meaningless.

  2. Very interesting! Keep writing your articles.