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Frank McCourt's attorney calls bid for Dodgers a 'publicity stunt'

The Dodgers owner has not responded publicly to a $1.2-billion offer from a group headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke, but a court filing cites McCourt's choice not to accept the bid.

September 08, 2011|By Bill Shaikin
  • Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has not responded publicly to an unsolicited $1.2-billion bid for the team by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has not responded publicly to an unsolicited… (Ann Johansson / For The Times )

An attorney for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt dismissed a $1.2-billion bid for the team as a "publicity stunt," according to documents filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

McCourt remains steadfast in his intention not to sell the Dodgers, two people familiar with his thinking but not authorized to discuss it publicly said Thursday.

McCourt received the $1.2-billion offer in an Aug. 30 letter from a group headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke and funded in large part by financial institutions owned by the Chinese government.

Burke denied that the offer was a "publicity stunt" and said he had not discussed it with The Times before the newspaper disclosed it last week.

"It's a publicity stunt by the person who gave you the letter," Burke said. He declined to further comment.

Ryan Kirkpatrick, an attorney for Frank McCourt, called the offer "unsolicited" in a Sept. 1 email sent to Michael Kump, an attorney for Jamie McCourt.

"It's hard to see it as anything but a publicity stunt," Kirkpatrick wrote in the email, included in a filing on behalf of Jamie McCourt.

Frank McCourt has not responded publicly to the Burke bid. In the court filing, however, Dennis Wasser, another attorney for Jamie McCourt, cited "Frank's choice to turn down the recent $1.2-billion purchase offer" and wrote that "Frank has stated that he will not accept any offer … because he wants to do everything possible to hang onto the team."

Steve Sugerman, a spokesman for Frank McCourt, declined to comment.

Ex-wife Jamie McCourt asked the divorce court in May to order the immediate sale of the Dodgers. The team filed for bankruptcy protection in June, and she subsequently withdrew her request in deference to the Bankruptcy Court.

The Kirkpatrick email appears to rebut suggestions circulating within Major League Baseball's offices that Burke had somehow allied with McCourt on a bid that could be used to set the market for an eventual sale price.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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