Blog Entry

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:34 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 11:19 am
It's not quite the "Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead" moment yet.

But Frank McCourt has never been closer to becoming the ex-Dodgers owner than he is right now.

But McCourt and Major League Baseball jointly announced overnight Tuesday -- at 1:03 a.m. EDT, to be exact -- that they have "agreed to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designated to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner Frank McCourt."

Translation: McCourt, cornered from all sides and quickly running out of money, has lost his appetite to fight following two years of lawyers, litigation, obstinance and sheer delusion.

In what amounts to a final surrender, McCourt essentially has agreed to auction off the team and disappear. In return, MLB gets what it wants: The Dodgers wrested from McCourt's cold clutch without a messy court fight in which secret financial details could be publicly revealed. The league will help facilitate the sale through the Blackstone Group LP.

The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots. McCourt purchased the club and the properties for $421 million in 2004.

Best-case scenario for MLB, Los Angeles and Dodgers fans: A new owner is in place by opening day.

The Dodgers have been in free-fall since Frank and Jamie McCourt's marriage began crumbling in 2009, and the all-out war that developed between the two turned into one the ugliest and messiest battles in baseball history. Their excessively materialistic lifestyle first provided fodder for Los Angeles gossip columns, and then grist for MLB to seize the team from McCourt after it accused him of "looting" millions of dollars from the Dodgers to finance his over-leveraged personal life.

The aptly named McCourt battled in both divorce court and bankruptcy court trying to keep the Dodgers while remaining financially solvent. It's been clear to everyone but him for more than a year that he was fighting a losing battle.

His last-ditch bid to reverse his fall came when he attempted to arrange a future television contract that would front him millions even while the Dodgers were still operating under a present television contract with Fox. Selig would not allow it, and that was the basis for McCourt's latest battle with MLB.

Frankly, that McCourt stubbornly hung on for this long is an upset, given that there were rampant rumors last summer that he would not be able to meet payroll, which would have given MLB carte blanche to remove him as owner.

Or, as I wrote on June 22: "Welcome to the final days of the Dodgers' banana republic. You can hear the choppers whirring just over the hills. Soon, they'll have the place fully surrounded. It won't be long until Frank McCourt will be forced down from his coconut tree, frisked and exiled."

That time has come. According to financial figures McCourt himself submitted to the Bankruptcy Court, even if he settled his divorce and sold the club's television rights, he would still be far short of what he needs to restore the luster to the Dodgers and to renovate Dodger Stadium. As it is, McCourt has agreed to pay his ex-wife, Jamie, a divorce settlement of $130 million.

On the field, the Dodgers in 2011 drew fewer than three million fans in a non-strike-shortened season for the first time in 19 years and for only the second time since 1989.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has expressed interest in the club. Closer to home, Dennis Gilbert, the one-time agent who headed a group that nearly landed the Texas Rangers in 2010, would be a perfect choice. Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio has been rumored as potentially being interested, and one industry source theorizes that Oakland owner Lew Wolff, frustrated with the Athletics' inability to gain a new stadium, is another possibility.

Since: Aug 1, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:48 pm

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

you can't tell me the pirates ( especially the bottom teams that are making money yet don't put it back into he team, every team in baseball made money ) for one and even the red sox and yankees owner don't take money out of their teams funds for themselves .... also what about the Mets ? they are in worse shape than the Dodgers ..... that's right bud is good friends with the Wilipons my mistake ... Bud has to be the WORST commish. in the history of pro sports !!!!!!!!!!!

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:13 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

If you are the owner it is not "looting" to take money out of the company....that's why, basically, you buy a business, to make money.  McCourt's "share" is "all of it" less any debts of the company that have to be paid, MLB has no say in the matter.
Well, not quite.  Owners of MLB franchises are not permitted to use the revenues of their clubs to pay off personal or separate business debts which is what McCourt was doing.  They are permitted to enter into contracts for services that pay others for the work done to service the franchise.  One of the things McCourt tried to do was to separate the land surrounding the stadium and have the team pay inflated rental prices to the "land owners" of the parking lots around Dodger Stadium.  At one point, he actually tried to "sell" the stadium to a "separate entity" (which he completely owned) and have the team pay the "new" owners of the land higher rent.  In turn, the company that "owned" land surrounding Dodger Stadium hired on McCourt's relatives for no-show jobs adding up to millions of dollars off the bottom line of the club.  This is a major no-no in MLB.

You can pay yourself a ridiculous salary as a MLB team owner but you can't siphon away funds from the team to pad your pockets to the detriment of your team's financial health.  This is exactly what McCourt was doing.

Since: Apr 19, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:05 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Christmas comes early for Dodger fans and the players too. New ownership by opening day? I like that senario. Let's hope it happens. It's going to take 1 billion, yes billion, dollars to buy the Dodgers, the stadium and land around the stadium and the baseball academy's. Dennis Gilbert and his deep-pocket buddies are the absolute prefect choice to buy the Dodgers.
Selig, you screwed up letting Mcbankrupt in to the owers club, don't screw up again.

Since: Apr 28, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:03 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!!!! the nightmare is about to come to an end, I dont know who will buy the team but it has to be better.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:31 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

What ever McDorks share of this sale is I hope MLB is subtracting the $200 mil he and Jamie looted out of the franchise
Final post on the article, I hate Frank McCourt but people need to let go of MLB's use of the word "looted".  Sorry, but if I own the company I can paymyself whatever I want, whether its a smart thing to do is another story.  If you are the owner it is not "looting" to take money out of the company....that's why, basically, you buy a business, to make money.  McCourt's "share" is "all of it" less any debts of the company that have to be paid, MLB has no say in the matter.

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:31 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Proof positive that reform at the top of the MLB food chain is needed...

Somehow, Selig and company allow an ass clown like Frank McCourt to buy a storied franchise like the Dodgers and turn them into a Section 8 baseball club, but a they block the likes of a Mark Cuban from buying the Cubs.

Bud Selig, this mess (and a whole lot of negativities) happened on your watch.  You gotta go.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:26 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

There is some experts who say that Frank McCourt will try to sell the Dodgers for a little over a billion dollars, please who in the right mind would pay for this run down franchises
Well considering that just a couple months ago there was an all cash offer for the Dodgers for $1.2 Billion I'd say there is a decent chance of the auction producing at least $1billion purchase price.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:23 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Nobody is gonna pay big money for this franchise until the Brian Stow matter is settled and thats on McCourt. Until thats over, this is all a big pile of crap. Any buyer will insist on no outstanding litigation, so how can they even be auctioned off?  Hey Bud? Inquiring minds wanna know

 The answer is very simple -- 1. Stow's claims are, just like every other "creditor" subject to the bankruptcy court.  If the Dodgers received a bankruptcy discharge then Stow's claim against the team, just like all other creditors, will be paid some portion of the amount and the rest discharged. Any claim he might have against McCourt personally, which is likely none, would survive as McCourt did not file bankruptcy but that does not affect any sale of the Dodgers. 2.  Stow's claims are against one or more of the corporations that own the Dodger's assets but Stow has no lien on those assets.  If the assets are auctioned off, and if approved by the bankruptcy court there is nothing to prevent that, then Stow's claims, if they survived bankruptcy discharge, would be against the former Dodger corporations with no assets.  Any buyer of the assets would receive them free and clear of any claim by Stow.  The only way "outstanding litigation" matters to the buyer is if they are buying the actual corporations and not just the assets.  If you buy the corporations, you get the debt/litigation too (secured lenders, of course, would have to get paid from the proceeds to deliver good title to the assets).  If its just an asset sale, however, you just take the assets and the debts remain with the seller corporation.

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:11 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers

Wow...I hope Ashton Kutcher or Justin Bieber by the

Since: Aug 2, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:51 am

McCourt, MLB agree to auction Dodgers


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