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Dodgers' Frank McCourt does not plan to plead his case with fellow baseball owners

MLB owners meet next week, but a person familiar with McCourt's thinking indicates Dodgers owner won't address them, believing they are aligned with Commissioner Bud Selig in dispute over team.

May 06, 2011|By Bill Shaikin
  • Commissioner Bud Selig talks with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt before a playoff game at Dodger Stadium.
Commissioner Bud Selig talks with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt before a… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )

Frank McCourt does not plan to address his fellow owners as a group when the major league owners gather next week for their quarterly meeting, according to a person familiar with McCourt's thinking.

McCourt has made his case for his continued ownership of the Dodgers in numerous media appearances over the last 10 days. The owners could override any decision by Commissioner Bud Selig to strip McCourt of his team, but the Dodgers owner does not intend to lobby them.

"He believes he's got an audience of one," said the person familiar with McCourt's thinking but not authorized to discuss it publicly. "The owners aren't going to turn on the commissioner."

The Dodgers' situation is not on the agenda for next week's meeting, and no action is expected with regard to the team, according to two people familiar with plans for the meeting but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

However, the Dodgers currently lack the cash to meet the May 31 payroll, a scenario that could trigger an ownership change, a legal confrontation between McCourt and Selig, or both.

If the Dodgers fail to meet the payroll, the commissioner's office would pay the salaries, with McCourt almost certainly asked to sell the team. If he were to refuse, the league constitution specifically provides for "involuntary termination" of the franchise if the owner fails to repay any debts to the league within 30 days.

Alternatively, the constitution provides for termination if a team should "fail or refuse to comply with any requirement of the commissioner."

Any involuntary termination requires a three-fourths vote of the owners. None of the other 29 owners has spoken out publicly in support of McCourt, and one said Selig has all the votes should he recommend the Dodgers' franchise be terminated.

"The vote would be 29-0," said the owner, not authorized to comment publicly because of the possibility of litigation. McCourt has not ruled out a legal challenge to Selig, most likely centered on the allegation that the commissioner has abused his powers.

If Selig were to seize the Dodgers and put them up for sale, his office would pay the team's bills during the process, then deduct the expenses from the proceeds of the sale and return the remaining amount to McCourt — or, if California community property law prevails, to McCourt and his ex-wife Jamie.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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