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Jamie McCourt tries to get judge to throw out her 'huge mistake'

April 19, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Former Dodger owners Frank and Jamie McCourt watch a game at Dodger Stadium in April 2005.
Former Dodger owners Frank and Jamie McCourt watch a game at Dodger Stadium… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

In October 2011, Jamie McCourt agreed to a divorce settlement in which she would get $131 million and give up any claim to the Dodgers.

Six months later, the Dodgers sold for $2 billion.

"I was surprised I could have made such a huge mistake," she testified Friday.

McCourt returned to Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, for the first day of a hearing in which she has asked Judge Scott Gordon to throw out the divorce settlement. Frank McCourt, her ex-husband and the former Dodgers owner, also was in court, although Jamie McCourt was the only  witness to testify Friday morning.

Jamie McCourt argues that the settlement should be invalidated because Frank McCourt knowingly misled her about the value of the Dodgers during negotiations. Her most significant evidence, at least so far, appears to be  an interview in which Peter Cohen, the lead investment banker handling the Dodgers' sale, is asked whether the sale price was more than he had anticipated from the outset.

"No," he said.

Cohen's firm, Blackstone Advisory Partners, was retained by Frank McCourt three months before the McCourts agreed on the divorce settlement.

"When Peter Cohen ... stated for many people that he knew from day one the value was going to be this high," Jamie McCourt testified, "I knew -- or I believed -- that Frank knew all along what the assets were worth and didn't tell me."

At the time the settlement was announced, people familiar with the negotiations said Jamie McCourt preferred to accept a guaranteed payment rather than endure protracted litigation in two courts, with the risk that Frank McCourt might fight so hard to keep the Dodgers that debts and legal costs could wipe out most of the profit from any sale.

Jamie McCourt testified Friday that she had not opted for certainty over potential upside and said the $131 million represented roughly half of what she believed the couple's assets were worth,  which she said Frank McCourt had told her was about $300 million.

Bob Sacks, an attorney for Frank McCourt, asked Jamie McCourt whether her ex-husband still would have owed her another $31 million had the Dodgers sold for $100 million in net profit.

"I'm not sure. That could be the case," Jamie McCourt said. "I thought we were splitting everything 50-50. He would have had the right to say, 'There's a problem.' "

The McCourts had to wait to be heard Friday so that Kim Kardashian could affirm a divorce settlement in the same courtroom.

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