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Dodgers' finances include an unusual revenue-generating plan: 'Own to rent'

The team has been charging itself rent on Dodger Stadium property it owns, and the tab this year, a whopping $14 million, is far greater than what is typically paid by teams that rent their stadiums from independent landlords.

August 14, 2010|By Bill Shaikin

None of the teams with a public landlord pay property tax. The Dodgers do, but their payments for the last three years — $2.02 million in 2007, $2.29 million in 2008 and $2.37 million in 2009, according to the office of the county treasurer and tax collector — represent a small fraction of the rent.

Also, the property taxes are paid not by Blue Land but by another McCourt entity, Realco Intermediary LLC, according to county records.

The Dodgers first assessed themselves rent in July 2006. The rental rate rose annually, from $14.2 million in 2007 — the first full year they charged themselves rent — to $15.2 million last year, according to court records. Wilhelm said the lower rent this year reflected an accounting change.

Before this year, the Dodgers did not pay much of their rent. The Dodgers actually transferred to Blue Land only the money necessary to pay the debt on the loan, according to court filings.

For instance, Wilhelm indicated the Dodgers paid about $5.5 million of the $14.9-million rent in 2008 and about $6 million of the $15.2-million rent in 2009.

That's what left about $24 million in rental payments the Dodgers deducted from team revenue but did not make to Blue Land through 2009, court records show.

Wilhelm called that debt "just an . . . accounting entry" but said he did not know whether he would pay that money to Frank McCourt upon his request.

Under questioning from attorneys from Jamie McCourt, Wilhelm said the Dodgers had "no plans" to pay the money to Blue Land but also said the Dodgers had "no plans for . . . forgiveness" of that debt.

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