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McCourts have 'amicably resolved' one issue

In a court filing, Frank McCourt's lawyers say issue of how much money the Dodgers owner should pay to support his estranged wife pending trial has been decided.

December 09, 2009|By Bill Shaikin

Frank and Jamie McCourt have "amicably resolved" the issue of how much money the Dodgers owner should pay to support his estranged wife for now, his lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday.

The filing did not specify how the issue had been resolved. Jamie McCourt had asked for $488,000 per month in temporary spousal support.

The "interim support" settlement would postpone a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, and clear one hurdle toward resolving the major legal question: Who owns the Dodgers?

A settlement for temporary support is nearing completion, said two sources familiar with the case, speaking on the condition that they not be identified because an agreement has not been finalized and filed with the court.

Bert Fields, an attorney for Jamie McCourt, deferred comment to lead attorney Dennis Wasser, who could not be reached.

Despite a consistent refrain from Dodgers executives and Frank McCourt's lawyers that the club has been conducting "business as usual" despite the divorce proceedings, McCourt said in the filing that the "distraction is . . . creating a hardship for the Dodgers management."

McCourt, who claims sole ownership of the club, made his statements in support of his request that the trial to determine ownership of the team start in February, with the goal of a decision by opening day.

Jamie McCourt, who claims she is a co-owner, has asked the court to set a later trial date. Frank McCourt's lawyers called that "gamesmanship" in Tuesday's filing, charging that she is stalling "in order to exact a more favorable settlement."

Fields dismissed that allegation as "hogwash" and said Jamie McCourt is focused on owning the Dodgers, not in negotiating a settlement that would remove her from ownership. Frank McCourt fired her as the Dodgers' chief executive in October.

In his filing, Frank McCourt credited a "strong management team" for running the Dodgers "at the highest level of performance."

"However . . . the intense media attention to this matter has become a distraction to our organization," he said. "It has prevented me from devoting my full-time attention as the owner of the team and as steward of what is clearly a civic asset. This distraction is also creating a hardship for Dodgers management."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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