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Jamie McCourt says Frank McCourt endangered value of Dodgers with 'secret' Fox deal

In a court filing, her attorneys ask that Frank be ordered to provide extensive financial information about the team's business operations. A hearing is set for April 11.

March 01, 2011|By Bill Shaikin
  • Jamie McCourt claims her ex-husband, Frank McCourt, has put her financial interests at risk by negotiating a "secret deal" with Fox.
Jamie McCourt claims her ex-husband, Frank McCourt, has put her financial… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

Frank McCourt has failed to protect the financial interests of his ex-wife, Jamie, in part by negotiating a "secret deal" with Fox that "would have endangered" the value of the Dodgers' broadcast contracts, attorneys for Jamie McCourt alleged in a court filing Tuesday.

Her attorneys asked that Frank be ordered to provide to Jamie extensive financial information regarding the Dodgers' business operations, including documents related to negotiations with television outlets and efforts to obtain additional financing for the cash-strapped franchise.

The court set a hearing for April 11.

In December, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon threw out an agreement that would have granted Frank sole ownership of the Dodgers. Jamie claims that decision makes her half-owner of the team under California community property law and, as such, entitles her to full financial disclosure about the couple's assets pending resolution of the divorce proceedings.

"Frank has consistently and wholly failed to comply," her lawyers wrote.

Frank argues the court invalidated the agreement but deferred the determination of who owns the Dodgers. He has done nothing to diminish the value of the team, according to his representatives.

Ryan Kirkpatrick, an attorney for Frank, said that both parties are obligated to share financial information and that Frank has "fully complied" with his duties. Kirkpatrick said the two sides have set a meeting to discuss financial disclosure, although Jamie's lawyers say Frank's lawyers have been slow to do so.

"To file a motion when we haven't had a meeting is bizarre," Kirkpatrick said.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Commissioner Bud Selig had rejected a proposal in which Fox would have lent Frank about $200 million, using the Dodgers' television rights as collateral.

Jamie and her advisors were "shocked" to read that report, according to the filing. Her lawyers called it "outrageous" that Frank had not disclosed the Fox discussions to Jamie and "equally outrageous" that she needed Selig to "protect the franchise's best interests given that California law imposes that very duty and obligation upon Frank," since he runs the Dodgers.

Among the financial information Jamie requested are documents related to any payments the Dodgers may have received from Major League Baseball. The financially troubled New York Mets last year received a $25-million loan from MLB, the New York Times and New York Daily News reported.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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