MLB took control of the Dodgers' financial operations on Wednesday, and a trustee should be appointed any day now. Yesterday we learned that the baseball operations department "will continue to work under the same guidelines and budget," and that MLB assumed control of the team in part because other owners "fear the devaluation of their own franchises." Here are today's links, with the latest at the top…
- Recently appointed Dodgers VP Steve Soboroff is used to fighting uphill battles, writes Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times.
- GM Ned Colletti said he doesn't have any new information about the league's seizure of the club, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that going forward, the Dodgers will have to get league approval to make roster moves, add payroll, etc. The team isn't paralyzed, but the commissioner's office will be "calling the shots" once Bud Selig puts someone in charge. It will follow the same blueprint as the Rangers last year (three Twitter links).
- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt will still lose the team if he files for bankruptcy according to ESPN The Magazine's Molly Knight (Twitter link). It would, however, "gum up" Selig's immediate takeover plans since McCourt will argue that any moves approved by an MLB official could negatively impact the value of the franchise before a sale.
- Former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey has teamed with billionaire business magnate Ron Burkle in an investment group that would like to buy the team, reports Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times. Burkle owns a share of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, and he's also pursued ownership of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals in recent years.
- Steve Dilbeck of The Los Angeles Times adds that Garvey's interest in buying the team is curious because he has a sketchy financial past and also because he is currently employed by McCourt as a member of his marketing and communications department. Plus the team isn't for sale, at least not yet.
- In his Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says that many people in the game expect Dennis Gilbert to wind up as part of the group that eventually owns the Dodgers. Gilbert, a former agent, made a play for the Rangers last year.
- When asked about his supervisor until MLB announces its representative to lead the team, GM Ned Colletti told the AP (via Philly.com) that he "still [reports] to Frank."
Will MLB stewardship deny the Dodgers the ability to have September callups – like the did to the Nats/Expos? Those guys cost money, ya’ know.
Good God, what is it with this guy. Filing for Bankruptcy in order to keep the team? It’s like a bad nightmare. Just Go Away!!!!!!!
IF he files for bankruptcy. He hasn’t done it.
Unless McCourt can over turn the Judge’s ruling regarding the postnup, his soon to be ex wife owns half of the team, and he does not have the resources to buy her out. It will be sold.
Not quite. The divorce was finalized last October. Also, we don’t know how much of the team Jamie owns. She claims 50%, but that has not been determined. Why is this so important? Because the McCourts can battle over who owns how much of what for years to come, leaving the ball club in a pickle. Frank McCourt won’t have the resources to buy out Jamie unless he takes on partners, or the Commissioner allows him to obtain an advance on the teams media rights. I don’t see either one happening.
Quite. If the Dodgers were acquired during the marriage, the legal presumption is that the asset is community property, and each party owns a one half interest, exactly. The Court can make any “equal” division of the community property and one party or the other could get the team as long as there are equally valued assets going to the other party. The community property has not yet been divided even if they’ve taken status. The case is not finished by a long shot.
Of course the case isn’t finished by a long shot, but if MLB forces the sale of the team, then the McCourts can argue over who owns what until the earth’s crust cools as far as we’re concerned. You will notice if you read the articles on this carefully that Jamie claims to own 50% of the Dodgers, which is not the same thing as does own it. If Frank can show that the money used to purchase the team was his and not theirs, a judge may well award him more than half. But I’m hoping this has all been made moot to everyone but Frank and Jamie and their phalanx of lawyers.
MLB would have a serious problem “ordering” the sale of the Dodgers. All the assets of the community, or even separate assets, are under the control of the family Court in LA until a distribution is ordered. Neither party can encumber or sell any of those assets without an order of the Court or consent of both parties.
Jamie’s claim is for 50% of the team because it was purchased during the marriage. If Frank claims a credit because he can trace some funds to his separate property before marriage, that’s another matter, but the team will be owned exactly 50% each before any other offsets or assets are included in the distribution. Most likely, the Court will appoint an accountant to do a forensic analysis and value all the assets. It is possible that a sale could be ordered by the court, with the proceeds going into a trust account until a final distribution is made, but MLB would not be able to order the sale of an asset that is the subject of an ongoing case.
If Frank files for bankruptcy, then a Federal bankruptcy court will have legal possession of the assets, including the Dodgers. MLB would not be able to order the sale of the team without the approval of the Federal judge.
I said forced the sale, not ordered the sale. I know the difference, which is why I chose that word. Seems MLB had no problem making this happen in the case of the Rangers, which was taken through federal bankruptcy court. That court permitted MLB to exercise its contractual franchise rights in operating the team during the interim and respected the advice of MLB in finding new ownership for the team. In the case of the Dodgers it might even be somewhat less complicated since the bankruptcy would presumably apply personally to Frank McCourt, not to the Dodgers.
Yes, the court will decide the disposition of the assets. That’s exactly what I said.
MLB can do very little to force a sale as long as the battle over community property rights continues in family court. They can’t order, force, or do anything else about getting the team sold unless they get another court to take jurisdiction over the asset. We DO know exactly how much of the team Jamie owns. She owns one half of the community interest, which is exactly the same percentage that Frank owns, barring any post separation purchase or sale of more shares.
A bankruptcy may actually be good for all concerned as the BK proceeding tends to move more quickly in Federal Court, and they deal straight up with the sale of the assets, or a reorganization plan, depending on the type of bankruptcy filing. It could also hinder the sale, as the Court action stays all collection efforts and oversees any transfer of assets. The BK Court in Texas recognized the terms of ownership, but Hicks was resigned to letting the team go. McCourt isn’t there yet, but with Jamie and apparently some other investors, not to mention MLB not wanting Frank around any more, he needs to read the writing on the wall.
Through all of this, Selig may have wittingly expanded the powers of the Commissioner by setting a precedent where he steps in and takes control of a franchise in such a hostile manner, against the wishes of the owner. McCourt may find himself in such a weakened position that he may not be able to mount a legal challenge with so many others, including his ex wife, now on the other side. Selig’s proclamation that “I’m in charge” is based on little more than a claim in a press release, and it’s quite unilateral. This could have consequences for future owners who find themselves in financial trouble down the road.
We Will find out in September
I think that it is obvious that Garvey is just a name in that group and Burkle will be paying for most of the team if not all of it.
Garvey is the public face of this particular interest but Burkle is the big money man, though others are implied to be involved also. I have mixed feelings about Garvey but the idea of putting a baseball person in a visible position running the Dodgers, especially one with such great Dodger heritage, is very appealing to this fan.
Steve Garvey to buy Dodgers? What’s next, Lenny Dykstra buying the Mets?
I’m surprised Mark Cuban’s name has’nt come up yet, I know he may be too “spirited” for Bud and the Boys but he has the ability to run a successful major sports franchise.
Cuban said he’s not interested. He has a bad taste from his attempted purchase of the Rangers, when MLB owners made it clear that they didn’t want him around.
You would think he would file some sort of grievance against MLB, considering they are essentially blackballing him because of his personality. Granted the MLB wants to avoid image problems among the owners but with the recent problems with McCourt and to a lesser extent the Wilpons its hard to prove Cuban would have a negitive effect on the Dodgers.
What Cuban said is that he’s not going to “chase” any team, not that he isn’t intersted in the Dodgers. Fans have reportedly been bombarding him with emails, texts, tweets, etc., so I imagine buying the Dodgers is on his mind right now.
This guy McCourt is a idiot. MLB should take total control of this franchise. The GM is acting like this guy isn’t sinking the team. Hopefully MLB removes this clown also.
Coach Steve Tucker
Even if McCourt did some legal moves, and won in court — he looses in the commissioners eyes, with other owners, and 98 percent of Dodger fans.
He just need to start packing, tell his lawyers to make the best deal they can, and start back toward Boston (if they will have him).
I don’t like Garvey. He strikes me as a poser.
Because he is. Multiple paternity suits, shady financial dealings, etc. No thanks Steve.
The wife must be somewhat happy..To bad for the Dodgers though…what a shame…