Monday, September 20, 2010

Recapping day six and looking forward to an important tomorrow.

If you've been following the McCourt divorce from the beginning (or maybe that's just me), you're quite familiar with the concept of leverage. Usually, it refers to the use of borrowed money; it might cost me 5% to borrow money for my house (or baseball team), but I expect the asset's appreciation to outpace the accumulation of interest. Tomorrow, though, leverage is used more in the baseball analysis sense: it's going to be an extraordinarily important day.

I'll get more in depth about it tomorrow morning before trial, but here's the takeaway: the trial, to this point, has largely been about supporting the briefs. For as much commotion as the last several weeks have seen, we're largely back where we started: the Marital Property Agreement, if enforced, strongly favors Frank. His problem is winning on the question of its validity. Tomorrow, we hit a key phase in that battle. Two attorneys who had a hand in the execution of the document are expected to testify, and tomorrow's events will greatly shape things to come. In the mean time, some bullets about today's proceedings:

  • Jamie spent much of the day playing coy. Or, many would say, dumb. Several times, she expressed the sentiment that she didn't even know enough to know the couple needed a postnup to preserve their creditor protection upon a move to California. This goes directly against Frank's argument that she was, herself, behind the postnup.
  • From the earliest days of McCourt control, working at least one of the children into the Dodgers payroll was a priority.
  • Speaking of finances, it came out that the McCourts once sought to put aside $250 million, the interest from investment of which would support their $15+ million annual budget. Unable to find the cash and unwilling to sell a piece of the team, Jamie's notes read: "[R]ather, we will bake the annual number into operating budgets." This was accomplished through salaries, dividends, and other distributions.
  • The McCourts bought their second Charing Cross house because they believed it would make a great guest house. "Or bloggers' quarters during the trial," Jamie McCourt did not say.
  • Jamie said that "in many ways" she believed the Dodgers acquisition was "a less risky transaction" than Frank's other business endeavors. Susman proceeded to hammer her for saying recently that the Dodgers acquisition wasn't risky.
  • Jamie has no recollection of, well, lots of things. I guess she and Frank have that in common. Anyway, among the things she can't remember are several meetings related to the creation of the MPA, as well as its execution.
  • Jamie said that, as a lawyer and a "normal person," she believes people should be bound by what they sign. Interesting strategy. She also "never considered" the MPA "a post-nuptial agreement."
  • Many times throughout the day, Jamie tried to distinguish between sole ownership as a legal concept and sole ownership in the context of a day-to-day marriage. A valid point, in practicality. But we are, after all, in a courtroom.
  • Jamie noted that signing documents without reading them "seems to be my downfall." Of course, she also added later that she doesn't spend time reading most legal documents because "it's boring," and if she finds something she doesn't understand, "I don't bother reading it because it's over my head."
  • Susman seemed to restrain himself several times from giving Jamie elementary reading lessons. She was claiming no knowledge of some concepts that you learn in the first two weeks of law school, let alone in several decades of legal and business experience.
  • "I'm assuming it's correct because we signed it." Those words were about a personal balance sheet, not the MPA. Because that would be too easy.
  • Much of the afternoon was spent walking Jamie through several documents listing Frank as the sole of the owner of the Dodgers and Jamie as, well, not. Boies countered by noting that none of those documents mention divorce, including the MPA Jamie didn't read at the time. But she has now, I'm sure.
That's about half of the interesting stuff I could dump from my notes tonight. It's important to note that, just like Frank a couple weeks ago, we shouldn't jump to conclusions on the night after Jamie faced opposing counsel. She struggled a bit. Frank probably struggled more, and yet we're right where we began. I've got to run, though. See you all early tomorrow morning!


  1. I heard you on ESPN 710 this evening and you said they are tied at the bottom of the 6th inning. Do you think tomorrow, with Silverstein on the stand, we'll get a better picture of who will win the trial?

    I have a gut felling tomorrow is not going to go well for team Jaime.

    God I hope im wrong. I want the McCourts to sell. Heard Oscar De La Hoya wants to buy the Dodgers... interesting.

  2. I would assume the two drafting attorneys will testify that they drafted and assembled the MPA with the Dodgers exclusion and that they have no idea why it was not in the other 3 versions. Otherwise, they will have basically admitted malpractice. This will lead us back to Jamie's argument that Frank intentionally pulled a fast one. Josh, what do you think?

  3. I wonder if Jamie will YAM-mer on the stand today?