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DODGERS

Dodgers cry foul over Jeff Fuller's Taiwan trip

Team considers legal action after the former employee linked to Jamie McCourt meets with a legislator.

December 12, 2009|By Bill Shaikin

As Frank and Jamie McCourt keep low profiles, another player in the Dodgers' divorce drama made an unusual public appearance halfway around the world.

In a twist that has Frank McCourt threatening legal action, the driver with whom he alleges Jamie McCourt had an affair met this week with a Taiwanese legislator interested in strengthening ties with the Dodgers.

Jeff Fuller presented a Dodgers jacket and an autographed baseball from Manager Joe Torre to Sen. Justin Chou. In turn, Chou invited Jamie McCourt to visit Taiwan.

In a telephone interview with The Times, Chou said he was unaware that neither Fuller nor Jamie McCourt currently works for the Dodgers.

"I'm not worried about such things," Chou said. "I'm looking forward to more interaction between Taiwanese baseball and the Dodgers. That's my only wish."

The Dodgers, who have Taiwanese pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo and infielder Chin-lung Hu on their roster, are in discussions with Major League Baseball about playing exhibition games in Taiwan in March, spokesman Josh Rawitch said. Fuller's visit was not on behalf of the club, Rawitch said.

Marshall Grossman, an attorney for Frank McCourt, said he is reserving the right to take "whatever legal steps are necessary" to prevent Fuller and Jamie McCourt from presenting themselves as representatives of the Dodgers.

Chou said he met Fuller through a mutual friend. He said Fuller presented himself as the "personal assistant to Jamie McCourt." He extended an invitation -- through Fuller -- for Jamie McCourt to visit Taiwan next month.

Mike Sitrick, a spokesman for Jamie McCourt, said she did not accompany Fuller to Taiwan and has no plans to visit there next month. Sitrick said he could not explain why Fuller was there, referring that question to Fuller.

The Times was unable to reach Fuller this week. Bert Fields, an attorney for Jamie McCourt, said he could not confirm what relationship Jamie McCourt currently has with Fuller.

Jamie McCourt, who was the Dodgers' chief executive, and Fuller, the driver who became her boyfriend, have been fired by Frank McCourt. The McCourts filed for divorce in October.

Frank McCourt claims he is the sole owner of the Dodgers; Jamie McCourt claims she is a co-owner of the team. A trial date to decide that issue could be set Tuesday.

After The Times spoke with Chou, his office issued a news release describing Fuller's visit as "a personal trip" and expressing sorrow and regret for "any misunderstanding . . . causing any distress to Jamie McCourt."

Chou, who described himself as a "longtime Dodger fan" and a friend of Kuo's, said he hoped the Dodgers would not only play the exhibition games but expand their scouting in Taiwan and perhaps offer advice about responding to a game-fixing scandal there.

"Jamie is experienced at organizing baseball teams, like the Dodgers," Chou said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Tommy Yang of the Times' Beijing bureau contributed to this report.

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