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Judge in McCourts' divorce case talks of Dodgers sale

As Frank and Jamie McCourt both claim to be low on cash, L.A. Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon says one resolution would be to sell 'the asset which is being fought over.'

July 14, 2010|By Bill Shaikin

The Dodgers could be ordered sold if Frank and Jamie McCourt do not resolve their bickering over payments such as property taxes and attorney fees, the judge presiding over their divorce warned Wednesday.

With each of the McCourts claiming to be low on cash, and with bills piling up, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon threatened to resolve both issues at once by putting the Dodgers on the block.

"The parties are unintentionally pushing the court toward an interesting position — selling the asset which is being fought over," Gordon said in a court hearing.

The Dodgers are valued at $727 million by Forbes magazine. Each of the McCourts has hired an all-star roster of lawyers to battle for ownership of the team — the trial is set for Aug. 30 — and Gordon said those lawyers should not have to foot the bill.

"If people want to fight and incur those fees, assets could have to be sold to pay those fees," said Lynn Soodik, a Santa Monica family law attorney.

Soodik said Gordon would be more likely to order the couple to sell real estate than to sell the Dodgers, and the sides agreed Wednesday to cut the asking price for a Cabo San Lucas property from $8 million to $6 million.

Charlotte Goldberg, professor of family law at Loyola Law School, said she interpreted Gordon's comment as an admonition to both sides to "stop arguing and get together" to ensure creditors are paid.

In his latest court filing, Frank McCourt reported his available cash at $680,000. He said could not meet the conditions for a bank loan intended to cover his legal costs and had in recent weeks "borrowed $650,000 from my brother, $650,000 from a business associate and $150,000 from another business associate" to cover court-ordered support.

According to court filings, those unpaid bills range from $875 for carpet cleaning of a Malibu home and $1,540 for air-conditioning service at a Holmby Hills home to $497,698 in delinquent property taxes, $833,808 for his lawyers and $962,394 for Jamie McCourt's lawyers.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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