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McCourt gives 40,000 Dodgers tickets to LAPD officers

The embattled owner, going through a multimillion-dollar divorce, makes the announcement while receiving an award from the Los Angeles Police Protective League's charitable arm.

August 28, 2010|By Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times

These are tough times for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

He's embroiled in a multimillion-dollar divorce proceeding with his estranged wife, Jamie. He's low on cash, according to one of his court filings. His stewardship of the team is constantly under scrutiny.

But when McCourt stepped to the stage at a gala this week to accept an award from the Los Angeles Police Protective League's charitable arm, the Eagle & Badge Foundation, he decided to give away one of the few things he has a lot of these days: Dodgers tickets.

As a tribute to Los Angeles police officers, he promised to give the 10,000 men and women of the police force vouchers for four tickets apiece. That's 40,000 tickets. On Wednesday, the Police Protective League e-mailed its members that McCourt had come through with his offer and that everyone was entitled to four tickets on the loge or reserve level for games on Sept. 17, 18, 19 or Oct. 1, 2 or 3.

That's about $1.25 million to $1.5 million worth of tickets, said Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers' vice president of communications.

"This is certainly one of the largest charitable donations made to a single organization by the Dodgers in recent memory," Rawitch said.

Asked whether McCourt and the Dodgers could afford it, Rawitch replied, "Yes, of course."

"It caught me off guard, I can tell you that," said Paul Weber, president of the Police Protective League, who added that McCourt never mentioned before the gala — held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel — that he planned to make the contribution. McCourt, who was honored for community work along with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, apparently put aside his prepared remarks, Weber recalled.

"He said he just wanted to address us from the heart.... People were really touched by him reaching out to rank-and-file police officers in the city and showing his appreciation."

The Dodgers did not issue a news release about the ticket giveaway; the information came from the Police Protective League.

Weber, a sergeant, noted that officers know a thing or two about what McCourt is experiencing: "Police officers go through divorces too, at a fairly high rate."

carla.hall@latimes.com

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