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McCourt refutes Soboroff claims

Dodgers Vice Chairman Steve Soboroff said he couldn't locate Tom Schieffer as news broke about Osama bin Laden's death, but trustee shows email in which he promptly approved upgraded stadium security.

May 06, 2011|Bill Shaikin

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has repudiated claims made by his vice chairman that the team could not get prompt authorization to increase stadium security after Osama bin Laden's death.

Dodgers vice chairman Steve Soboroff told several media outlets Thursday that he could not locate Tom Schieffer, the trustee appointed by Commissioner Bud Selig to run the team, as news broke that Bin Laden was dead. The allegation outraged Major League Baseball officials, for whom Schieffer produced an email in which he approved the upgraded security two minutes after a request from Dodgers general counsel Sam Fernandez.

McCourt apologized, in a public statement and in a private telephone call, to Rob Manfred, the MLB executive vice president and Selig's point man on the Dodgers.

The episode comes at a particularly sensitive time for McCourt, who has repeatedly asked MLB officials to preserve his ownership of the Dodgers.

McCourt, in several media stops in the last week, has argued that the Dodgers' financial difficulties would be solved if Selig would approve a $3-billion television agreement he has with Fox. Selig is withholding a decision on the deal until MLB completes an investigation of the Dodgers' finances.

Soboroff did not return messages from The Times, but he spoke Thursday with KPCC Radio, Yahoo Sports and the New York Times. In his KPCC interview, Soboroff said he had no idea how to reach Schieffer via email on the night Bin Laden died, that the trustee was "entirely inappropriate" in introducing himself to players in a pregame meeting and that Schieffer and his aides were "going to games [and] coming into the office at noon."

In his statement, McCourt said Soboroff had made several "factually incorrect" remarks about Schieffer, including the claim that the trustee could not be reached upon Bin Laden's death.

"Not only did Mr. Schieffer respond immediately to our request for permission to increase security at the stadium, he volunteered to assist the organization in any way that he could," McCourt said.

Report on Broxton

An MRI exam on Jonathan Broxton's right elbow showed no structural damage, his agent said Thursday.

The procedure, performed Wednesday, the same day the Dodgers' closer first complained of elbow stiffness, showed a bone spur and a bruise at the back of the elbow but nothing that might require surgery, agent B.B. Abbott said.

Abbott said the Dodgers plan to wait a couple days to see how the elbow responds before determining whether Broxton needs to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Broxton, a closer whose earned-run average has ballooned to 5.68, has struggled throughout most of the season. He looked like an injured pitcher in his last outing Tuesday night when he threw eight consecutive balls in the ninth inning, allowing the Chicago Cubs to break a tie and go on to a 4-1 victory.

Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.

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