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Let fans buy stock in the Dodgers, L.A. councilwoman says

Janice Hahn says laws could be changed to allow the public sale of shares in the team.

October 01, 2010|By Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times

If Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn has her way, Dodger Stadium is going to have to build a bigger owner's box.

Hahn, whose late father, L.A. County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, was instrumental in wooing the Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, said she would like to see Congress change the laws so that the fans could buy stock in the Dodgers and be the owners.

"It's been a painful year for the Dodgers," Hahn said. "I think the performance on the field really reflected that the parents were fighting. The Dodgers were kind of a pawn in divorce court."

If, after there is resolution in Frank and Jamie McCourt's divorce trial, the team is sold, Hahn said, "it would be a great opportunity for the public, the fans, to be one of the bidders."

Hahn said an investment banker could put together a public offering. "One share would be like $500 or $1,000 or whatever you need," Hahn said. "You would sell enough shares to raise money to have a viable offer."

She added: "You structure it so that no one entity could own it. You limit the number of shares you could own."

Hahn knows this is far from a reality, but she couldn't resist calling it "an idea that has been batted around for a while."

A Dodgers fan since she was a little girl, Hahn grew up steeped in Dodgers lore. She recounted the story of her father taking then-Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley on a helicopter tour of Los Angeles when he was considering moving the team to L.A.

"My dad said, 'Walter, where would you like to play?'" Hahn said. "Walter pointed down at Chavez Ravine and said, 'That looks good.'"

"My brother," she said, referring to former L.A. Mayor James Hahn, "was the first honorary bat boy of the Dodgers."

Major League Baseball passed a resolution forbidding public ownership of teams in 1961. It would take an act of Congress to get that restriction removed. Hahn is starting with the California delegation. Her first phone call was to U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra: "He's got the Dodgers in his district."

As for the McCourts, Hahn said, "We'll give them visitation rights."

carla.hall@latimes.com

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