APNewsBreak: Ex-Dodger owner back in divorce court

AP News
Posted: Sep 26, 2012 1:41 PM
APNewsBreak: Ex-Dodger owner back in divorce court

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The ex-wife of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt wants to set aside the couple's divorce settlement, claiming he vastly understated the value of a team that sold earlier this year for $2 billion, the highest figure ever paid for a pro sports franchise.

Jamie McCourt's attorney, Bertram Fields, told The Associated Press that she "thought very long and very hard about whether to file this motion" but that after other means failed, she returned to court.

"Mr. McCourt got about 93 percent of the family assets, and Mrs. McCourt got about 7 percent," Fields said in a phone interview late Tuesday. "We would've much preferred to have this massive imbalance resolved with some modification, but we got no response to that approach. We didn't want to have more family litigation, but now it's up to the court."

The motion filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court claims Frank McCourt committed fraud by misrepresenting the couple's Dodgers assets as worth less than $300 million during their protracted divorce.

The pair's marriage was dissolved in October 2010, and Jamie McCourt received $131 million. The new court papers claim that after the sale and subtraction of relevant debts, Frank McCourt's assets turned out to be worth $1.7 billion, well over 10 times the amount Jamie McCourt received.

The motion claimed that even if Frank McCourt's figures were the result of mistakes rather than fraud, the settlement should be tossed out on the basis of the errors.

Ryan Kirkpatrick, an attorney for Frank McCourt, declined comment Wednesday.

The Dodgers went into bankruptcy protection in June 2011, but Frank McCourt eventually sold the team for $2 billion this May to a group that included former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson.

The group has vowed to restore dignity to the storied franchise after the era of McCourt, who is widely reviled by Dodgers fans for his seemingly profligate lifestyle at the club's expense after he bought the team from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $430 million in 2004.

In bankruptcy filings, attorneys for Major League Baseball said Frank McCourt looted more than $180 million in revenue from the club for personal use and other business unrelated to the team.

Divorce documents laid out the couple's expensive tastes, including the purchase of several homes, trips on chartered jets, country club memberships and even a six-figure, on-call hair stylist.

A hearing on the motion to set aside the divorce settlement was scheduled for Nov. 16.