With the NLCS starting today, the Dodgers announced that team Owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are separating. (Nice timing, little narcissistic of them?) Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has inside details on the separation:
(Will Jamie get the team in divorce settlement? Frank’s lawyer claims, “N-O”)
The divorce will not be amicable, one source said.
“They’ve already ‘lawyered’ up,” the source said. “They’re trashing each other terribly. It’s going to be World War III.”
Let me translate that for you: Jamie McCourt wants the team.
As CEO of the club, Jamie McCourt is the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball. Prior to that, she had been club president since Aug. 12, 2005. Community property laws in California provides Jamie McCourt half of Frank McCourt’s share of the Dodgers and his personal assets. The couple’s estimated net worth is $1.29 billion.
Rosenthal’s source also claims that Jamie McCourt is in a better financial position than Frank, which may facilitate a buyout of the team:
Any uncertainty in the team’s future ownership could be resolved if one McCourt buys out the other. Jamie McCourt would be better positioned to make such a move, sources say.
Frank McCourt reportedly financed more than half the purchase price when he bought the Dodgers from FOX Entertainment Inc. — owner of FOXSports.com — for a reported $430 million.
It is not known whether a pre- or post-nuptial agreement exists between Frank and Jamie McCourt that would allow for an orderly ownership transition.
Meanwhile, Frank’s lawyer is saying the opposite. Attorny Marshall Grossman claims there will be no legal battle, and that Frank is the sole owner of the team and that he has no intention of selling.
Don’t know who to believe in this instance, but Frank is legendarily over-leveraged. Could that play a role in how the divorce settlement plays out?
Frank has run the baseball side and Jaime the biz side since they bought the team. If Jamie were to buyout Frank, she’d also be in charge of the baseball ops. Based on the constant off-field p.r. botches over the years, that doesn’t bode well for the franchise.
Frank is also the person most responsible from bringing in Joe Torre, which explains why Torre said publicly that he doesn’t plan to manage beyond next season, when his contract expires.
He knew something we didn’t when he said that. And he doesn’t want to answer to Jamie - if that’s how things shake out.
*UPDATE*: Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports:
ESPN’s Peter Gammons, who told Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN NY that he believed Torre would resign after the season: “I think life with the Dodgers is pretty much a living hell. There will be a lot that comes out in time regarding Dodgers ownership.”
The McCourts, rarely seen together anymore, are believed to be in agreement on Torre’s value.
Torre has since said he won’t resign.