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McCourts state their positions in court papers

Filed ahead of initial court hearing in divorce, Jamie McCourt seeks reinstatement as Dodgers' chief to maintain 'marital status quo,' while Frank McCourt's lawyers argue he had right to fire her.

November 04, 2009|Bill Shaikin

The war of words continued to rage Tuesday in the Dodgers' divorce battle, with attorneys for both sides stating their cases in court papers filed in advance of Thursday's initial court hearing.

Jamie McCourt, who claims co-ownership of the Dodgers, has asked the court for immediate reinstatement as chief executive officer of the team. Her attorneys argued such an order would maintain "the marital status quo, at least until the issue of ownership of the franchise has been finally determined."

The attorneys for Frank McCourt, who claims sole ownership of the team, argued that he had the right to fire his estranged wife and had paid her $500,000 to cover her salary from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. With a separate hearing on spousal support set for Dec. 15, the attorneys argued, the reinstatement bid is "little more than a backdoor attempt" for more money until then.

The two sides also revived their debate on how integral Jamie McCourt has been to the success of the Dodgers' operations, with attorneys for Frank McCourt belittling her assertion that she was "the face of the Dodgers."

"There is no 'face of the Dodgers,' " his attorneys wrote, "and, even if there were, dozens of Dodgers figures would rank ahead of Jamie McCourt. The conflict between Jamie McCourt's focus on her self-image and the values of the Dodgers' organization is irreconcilable."

Dodgers President Dennis Mannion has opposed her reinstatement, alleging that Jamie McCourt seldom showed up for work on time, missed meetings and put her interests ahead of those of the team. Jamie McCourt has variously served as vice chairman, president and chief executive officer from the time the McCourts took control of the team in 2004.

"It is only now, after the parties' separation, that [Frank McCourt] has publicly asserted a claim that she was somehow unfit for her position as CEO," her attorneys charged. "Yet, during her tenure, the Dodgers broke attendance records four times and made the MLB playoffs four times."

Jamie McCourt said in her court filing she would respond to Mannion at a later time.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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