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McCourt divorce trial entering third and final scheduled week

Frank McCourt has offered close to $100 million, but Jamie McCourt is seeking closer to $400 million and has asked for a percentage of ownership in the Dodgers.

September 26, 2010|By Bill Shaikin

The divorce trial between Frank and Jamie McCourt opens its third and final scheduled week on Monday, with the sides remaining far apart on a settlement.

Frank has offered close to $100 million, according to sources, about what each of the McCourts would get if the Dodgers were sold today, with debt and taxes subtracted from the sale price. Jamie is seeking closer to $400 million, reflecting the Dodgers' future revenue potential from television rights and stadium land development.

Jamie has asked for a percentage of ownership in the Dodgers, since Frank has proposed a series of payments rather than an immediate lump sum. Frank has refused to consider granting her any share of the team.

The parties made little progress over 10 hours of mediation talks Friday. Neither side appears to think its position has been weakened by the first two weeks of trial testimony, according to sources on both sides. The sources were not authorized to speak publicly about confidential settlement discussions.

Frank has no plans to ask the Bingham law firm to help finance a settlement, according to two sources familiar with the proceedings.

Larry Silverstein, the Bingham lawyer who negotiated the now-disputed agreement that Frank says provides him with sole ownership of the Dodgers, testified last week that he switched the wording in the agreement after the McCourts signed it, without notifying them.

Silverstein said the switch simply corrected a drafting error and restored the language to which the McCourts had agreed, but legal experts said the before-and-after versions could prompt Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to throw out the agreement. That could leave Bingham vulnerable to a malpractice lawsuit if Frank loses, according to legal experts. But Frank is confident he will win and has no plan to suggest to Bingham that the firm help finance a settlement now or risk a malpractice lawsuit later.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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