Friday, April 29, 2011

Jamie McCourt moves to block Frank's Fox financing.

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Frank McCourt has been very vocal in recent days, blasting the Commissioner's office for failing to approve a massive extension of the club's TV deal with Fox that would also include an equity position in Prime Ticket. Saying the deal would provide both immediate cash in the neighborhood of $300 million and long-term stability, Frank has expressed frustration that Selig won't green-light a deal, saying yesterday, "I'm ready to sign it. Fox is ready to sign it."

Frank did not say next, "Jamie is ready to sign it." And therein may lie the rub. Shaikin:
One reason Commissioner Bud Selig has not approved a television contract with Fox that would serve as a financial lifeline for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is that McCourt's ex-wife, Jamie, has not approved the deal, according to two people familiar with the matter.

In correspondence with the commissioner's office, Jamie McCourt asserted her right to a say in the Dodgers' television deals by virtue of her half-ownership of the team, according to a person familiar with the communication.

We've talked some about Jamie's potential involvement in Dodgers' decisions. In late January, we discussed the automatic restraining orders which take force upon filing for divorce and whether those might cover some or all of the interrelated entities that make up the McCourt Enterprise. At the beginning of March, we hit on the topic again after Jamie reacted strongly to Frank's attempt to pledge the club's future television rights as collateral for a loan from Fox.

So, long story short: there have been abundant signs that Jamie McCourt seemed likely to seek a more active role in protecting the value of the Dodger-related assets. After all, unless Frank can score a court victory, they're half hers. And here she is, apparently unwilling to approve Frank's life-preserver Fox extension. That makes some sense, as the Fox deal both (a) comes with Frank's promise not to use any of the up-front cash to settle the divorce and (b) forecloses on the potential for the Dodgers to start their own TV network.

I doubt that Jamie anticipates actually starting and profiting from such a network. But she's certainly right in thinking that prospective bidders will value the Dodgers very differently depending on the status of the TV rights. Like the acreage around Dodger Stadium, uncommitted TV rights are a very significant value add to the franchise, and encumbering them in any way--either pledging them as security for a loan or selling them long term--could have a negative impact on the value of the Dodgers.

Though this dispute comes in Frank's dealings with the Commissioner's office, the parties' attorneys are set to argue about Jamie's right to financial information in court on May 11. If Jamie is successful, Judge Gordon will order Frank to supply Jamie with enhanced information about the Dodgers' dealings. Should she find something untoward, she would likely seek further judicial intervention, although MLB's installation of Tom Schieffer might obviate the need for any further protection.

Where it gets interesting is the extent to which she may allege improprieties on Frank's part. Over a year ago, in the context of arguing for a higher spousal support award than Frank suggested, Jamie's lawyers told the court:
Frank, with the assistance of his top financial advisors, has engaged in creating an elaborate subterfuge, designed to attempt to deceive this Court into believing that his wealth and his actual and potential cash flow . . . have dramatically decreased.
The emphasis was in the document itself. If Jamie went down that rabbit hole in the support context, is there any doubt she'll have folks ready to take an eagle-eyed look at the flow of cash in, out, and among the various Dodgers entities when it comes time to divvy up assets? Not in this little corner of the internet, there's not.
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13 comments:

  1. It's got to be all about leverage. In theory, Jamie and Frank are in the same place; that is, what's good for him is good for her, if she owns half. But NO, not really. She says "hey Frank, I'm going to blow enough smoke to get Bud the Commish not to approve your FOX deal, in which case you'll have to sell and we'll both get screwed. But it's worth it to me just to watch you circle the drain, even if I have to go down with you. ORRR, you can pay me what I want, and I'll go away."

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  2. What a nasty couple they turned out to be. They BOTH deserve to circle the drain, and end up with nothing. LOL

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  3. (From my friend, Hollywood Dodger Mark):

    Jamie McCourt also ran the club.
    Jamie McCourt found and used Vladimr Schpunt for her own eye problem then unleashed him on Jason Werth's broken wrist.
    Jamie McCourt is co-owner of the club.
    Jamie McCourt explored a run for the Presidency of the United States.
    Jamie McCourt bought all those houses.
    Jamie McCourt took the Dodgers names off their backs, changed her mind and wanted to put them back, the league said no, not for a year.
    Jamie McCourt repainted the Dodger seats pastel yellow as they were originally. The reason they were changed originally is that our outfielders could not pick up the ball. When our outfielders complained under Jamie McCourt's rule she let them remain pastel yellow.
    Jamie McCourt put a woman trainer in the dugout simply because she was a woman.
    Jamie McCourt committed adultery with her security guard Jeff Fuller then flagrantly flaunted Fuller in Frank's face game after game after game. ( I personally saw them canoodling on the escalator way before the scandal broke and pointed out to my friends that they were having an illicit affair - one year before the divorce announcement. )

    Is Frank McCourt ultimately responsible? Yes. But surprisingly this wicked witch of the Western division has somehow disappeared from media view as well as media scrutiny.

    (There was one more-Andre Ethier yoga day with the gals on the Dodger stadium infield. Walter O'Malley is still doing backflips in his grave over that one).

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  4. in response to Tony...

    Both McCourts are responsible for the mess the Dodgers are in. I would also added that Jamie demanded and got a $14 million swim pavillion on their Holmby Hills estate, when UCLA is down the road with some very nice Olympic size pools.

    They also had seven country club memberships, spend an obscene amount on hairdressing and clothes, let alone jet travel..

    Both McCourts couldn't control their spending..

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  5. Easy to figure out. Frank wants to keep the team and is willing to mortgage the future in order to get the cash needed to weather the current storm. Jamie wants the team sold and wants to preserve all the team value she can. This is a new position for Jamie, but it is her new position. I know this sounds strange, but if you love the Dodgers, pull for Jamie.

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  6. Anybody ever heard of this guy?

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/121006269.html

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  7. "Jamie McCourt explored a run for the Presidency of the United States."

    Not sure what you're accusing her of in that sentence. Is it your view that only a female that is a witch would run for president?

    "Jamie McCourt put a woman trainer in the dugout simply because she was a woman."

    How do you personally know that was the ONLY reason?

    Really, I don't think Jamie is a very nice person, but when you over-do it with the misogynistic smirking, you really undercut your argument. Yellow seats? Quit while your ahead, pal, instead of pulling all of this trivia in to show how women just don't belong in sports management because of how silly and foolish they are. It's offensive.

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  8. ""Jamie McCourt explored a run for the Presidency of the United States."

    Not sure what you're accusing her of in that sentence. Is it your view that only a female that is a witch would run for president?"


    She spent Dodger funds & resources putting together a plan to make her President of the US. THAT'S the issue.

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  10. Frank's attempt to pledge the club's future television rights as collateral for a loan from Fox.

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