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Frank McCourt seeks to reduce financial support of ex-wife

Meanwhile, Dodgers want bankruptcy court approval to retain an investment firm to help reorganize team?s finances.

July 15, 2011|By Bill Shaikin
  • Frank McCourt speaks to the media after a court session while Jamie McCourt leaves the building before addressing the media.
Frank McCourt speaks to the media after a court session while Jamie McCourt… (Photos by Nick Ut / Associated…)

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt asked Friday that a judge reduce the financial support he must pay his ex-wife, Jamie, saying the amount of money he paid her last year is more than he will make this year.

"I simply cannot afford to support [her] lifestyle any longer," McCourt wrote in a filing with Los Angeles Superior Court.

McCourt said he had incurred $9.4 million in legal bills — none related to the Dodgers' bankruptcy — with $3.4 million still unpaid.

The Dodgers also asked the Delaware bankruptcy court Friday for approval to retain an investment firm to help reorganize the team's finances, and to auction or otherwise broker the team's cable television rights.

Blackstone Advisory Partners would be paid a $7-million fee and $175,000 per month, according to the proposed agreement. McCourt has said the Dodgers were forced into bankruptcy when baseball Commissioner Bud Selig rejected a cable television deal with Fox.

In addition, the U.S. trustee in the bankruptcy case asked Friday that the court reject the loan McCourt would like to use to run the Dodgers during the bankruptcy proceedings. The trustee said the Dodgers had not "fully and expressly disclosed" the terms of the proposed loan.

The trustee's concern echoed that of Major League Baseball, which has proposed alternate financing and argued the loan arranged by McCourt would "personally benefit" him and not just the team. A hearing on that issue is set for Wednesday.

In his divorce court filing, McCourt asked that Jamie McCourt either pay the bills for the couple's seven properties or put them up for sale. The court set an Aug. 10 hearing date.

Frank McCourt said his income this year would be $5 million. In accordance with court orders, Frank McCourt said he paid Jamie McCourt $7.76 million over the past year, to cover temporary spousal support and to maintain the couple's homes. In comparison, Frank McCourt said he spent $600,642 on "my own personal expenses and lodging."

In the filing, Frank McCourt said he receives "no salary from the Los Angeles Dodgers" but is paid through Blue Land Co., the McCourt entity to which the Dodgers pay $14 million per year in rent. According to the filing, McCourt gets $5 million from that rent payment, with almost $4 million going toward mortgage payments and about $5 million toward various McCourt entities.

The last figure includes a total of $2.2 million for annual salaries to 12 employees of the McCourt Group, including vice presidents — and sons — Drew and Travis McCourt.

The filing also noted that MLB had capped annual rent payments at $14 million, despite an agreement between two McCourt entities that the rental fee would be $16.5 million last year and $17.2 million this year.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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