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NEWSWIRE

McCourts mum after settlement talks

The McCourts fail to reach an agreement and will meet again on June 8.

May 26, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has told Major League Baseball he expects to meet the team's payroll on Tuesday.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has told Major League Baseball he expects to… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

After four hours of settlement talks on Thursday, Frank and Jamie McCourt each left Los Angeles Superior Court with no agreement and no comment.

Settlement talks are scheduled to resume June 8, with additional sessions set for June 13 and June 16.

Frank McCourt has told Major League Baseball officials that he expects to meet the Dodgers' May 31 payroll. If he can, that would leave the Dodgers in play for the next session of settlement talks. If he cannot, MLB could seize the team and put it up for sale before then.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon met separately with each of the McCourts and accompanying attorneys on Thursday.

The McCourts held settlement talks before, during and after an 11-day divorce trial that ended last September. Gordon ruled that a marital property agreement that would have given Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers was invalid, giving Jamie McCourt the chance to claim half-ownership of the team under California community property law.

In the interim, Jamie McCourt has asserted her right to challenge a broadcast contract between the Dodgers and Fox that would serve as a financial lifeline for Frank McCourt.

— Bill Shaikin

The cash-strapped owners of the New York Mets agreed to sell a minority share of the team to hedge fund manager David Einhorn for $200 million, with the new partner predicting the club's financial situation will improve.

The announcement Thursday would allow owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz to retain control of the team, which has been damaged by the Bernard Madoff scandal. The influx of money would help pay debts and cover operating expenses.

It was not clear how much of the team Einhorn will own. He emphasized his stake was a minority one and that he wouldn't oversee the team's payroll or budget.

Wilpon told Sports Illustrated this week his team is "bleeding cash" and could lose up to $70 million this year.

Enter Einhorn, the president of the private investment firm Greenlight Capital Inc.

The Mets said Einhorn will be a "preferred partner" and have a "nonoperating investment" in the team. The club said the deal is subject to the "negotiation of a mutually acceptable definitive agreement" and is expected to be completed next month. Major League Baseball must give its approval.

Einhorn said he first met Fred Wilpon during this sale process. Einhorn has long known Bud Selig, having moved to the baseball commissioner's hometown of Milwaukee when he was a boy.

Recently, Forbes magazine estimated the value of the Mets had dropped 13% in one year to $747 million — and that was before the team's projected losses this season. The Mets also received a reported $25 million loan from MLB in November to help cover expenses.

GOLF

Jeff Overton leads Byron Nelson Championship

Jeff Overton shot a bogey-free six-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer after the first round of the Byron Nelson Championship at Irving, Texas.

A year after tying for second at TPC Four Seasons, Overton began his back nine with four birdies in a seven-hole stretch. He had his best score in 15 career rounds at the Nelson, even after his 22-foot birdie attempt on the closing hole lipped out.

Sergio Garcia, who withdrew from a British Open qualifier earlier this week and didn't even play a practice round because of an infected fingernail on his left hand, was two strokes back at 66 along with Dustin Johnson, Jeff Quinney, Scott Piercy, Will Strickler, Chris Riley, Josh Teater, Joe Ogilvie and Keegan Bradley.

Luke Donald shot a seven-under 64 to take the lead in the suspended first round of the BMW PGA Championship at Virginia Water, England, leaving him eight strokes ahead of No. 1 Lee Westwood in their battle for the top spot in the world rankings.

Donald, ranked No. 2 in the world, needs to outperform Westwood to take the top spot.

Matteo Manassero, the Italian star who became the youngest winner on the European Tour at 17 years, 188 days last October, shot a 66 to tie for second with Sweden's Johan Edfors.

Japan's Kiyoshi Murota shot a six-under 66 to overshadow stars such as Mark O'Meara and Tom Watson and grab the first-round lead in the weather-plagued Senior PGA Championship at Louisville, Ky.

Half the field was still on the course when darkness fell. Murota had a one-shot lead over Trevor Dodds, with O'Meara another stroke back after a 68. Watson shot a 70.

PRO BASKETBALL

Sacramento Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof said they were "optimistic" that Sacramento can help finance a new arena after a feasibility study was released at a special City Hall meeting in Sacramento.

The study was only preliminary and didn't outline how an arena would be paid for. The report only called for "significant contributions" from the private and public sectors.

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