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Dodgers Sale To Magic Johnson: Jaime McCourt Is Probably Calling Her Lawyers

Our friend David Wharton at the LA Times has a great little piece on whether Frank McCourt should be considered lucky or smart:

Six months ago, the smart money had Frank McCourt walking away from the Dodgers with little more than a battered reputation. The beleaguered owner had sunk into a quagmire of debt — taking the team into bankruptcy — and had settled a contentious divorce with his ex-wife, Jamie, by agreeing to pay the seemingly massive sum of $131 million. Most experts figured he’d be lucky to unload the franchise for just enough to break even. But that was then. This week, McCourt stands to pocket, after all the bills are paid, about half of the $2.15 billion offered by a group led by Magic Johnson.

By the time McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers last fall — after much battling with MLB — experts figured the team’s value had doubled, to nearly $1 billion. Still, when reports surfaced that a group indirectly financed by the Chinese government had offered $1.2 billion, most of those experts scoffed. That’s when McCourt and his cadre of advisors and high-priced attorneys — he spent more than $10 million on his divorce — made a series of adroit moves. A key one was the divorce settlement. It seemed like a smart move for Jamie to agree on $131 million because McCourt didn’t figure to make much, if anything, on the team’s sale. In hindsight, the settlement looks like a bargain for him and a miscalculation by her. “If she had known then what she knows now, I wonder if her approach would have been different,” said David Carter, executive director of USC’s Sports Business Institute.

Jamie and her attorneys have probably exhausted Southern California’s supply of Tums after learning about the size of the deal for the Dodgers.  I’m guessing that Jamie’s attorneys will be closely looking to see if there is avenue that they might be able to take to overturn the settlement agreement, something that is theoretically possible but extremely difficult.  If, for example, Jamie can prove that Frank defrauded her by failing to disclose material information, hiding assets, and/or cooking numbers then she might be able to give Frank some heartburn back.  I can’t overstate how difficult it would be for Jamie to make serious headway.  Still, its hard to see her letting Frank take this much loot without making some noise.


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