NEW ORLEANS — Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt, moving toward completing his $430-million purchase of the Dodgers, has submitted the required paperwork to the commissioner's office and could have his bid voted on by major league owners at a mid-January meeting, if not earlier in a conference call, two baseball officials told The Times on Friday.
Although some baseball officials and others familiar with the situation have questioned whether McCourt has the financing to fund the sale on his own, the two officials said that an initial review of the paperwork, which was submitted last Friday, showed that McCourt has satisfied baseball's debt equity rule, along with other requirements.
Robert DuPuy, baseball's president and chief operating officer, would not discuss the specifics of the paperwork or a possible timetable for getting McCourt approved.
However, DuPuy said he met with McCourt and his wife, Jamie, on Wednesday, and talked with News Corp. Chairman Peter Chernin on Friday, and told both Chernin and the McCourts that the "next step will be to try and get the McCourts together with a couple members of the ownership committee next week" before the industry shuts down through New Year's Day. The ownership committee must approve the proposed bid before it is sent to the full ownership for a vote. Committee approval has generally been tantamount to full ownership approval.
According to the agreement in principle between McCourt and News Corp., which was reached on Oct. 10, McCourt was required to submit his paperwork by Dec. 31.
"Suffice to say, the Dec. 31 deadline has been meet," a person familiar with his bid to purchase the Dodgers said. "The feeling is that there should be no more questions. Everything is there. The package is on [Commissioner] Bud Selig's desk."
Although the sale price for the club and its holdings has been announced at $430 million, the actual price is $330 million when discounts and credits associated with McCourt's exclusivity deposit and other incentives are factored in.
McCourt, whose period of negotiating exclusivity with News Corp. ends Jan. 31, was not included on Forbes magazine's most recent list of the 400 richest Americans, which requires a minimum net worth of $600 million. However, he owns valuable waterfront property in Boston, which, in combination with the club, a source said, he is employing as collateral to obtain financing.
The long sale process has created uncertainty for the Dodgers' front-office staff, but General Manager Dan Evans reiterated Friday at baseball's winter meetings that he is conducting business as usual and operating under a budget set by News Corp.
He said that while he has kept Corey Busch, who is supervising the transition for McCourt, informed of developments, he continues to answer to club Chairman Bob Daley, who will leave when McCourt takes over.
The 2004 Dodger payroll, despite the trade that sent Kevin Brown (owed $30 million over the next two years) to the New York Yankees, is expected to be in the same $115-million neighborhood as last season.