28 October 2009

Break Up: The Dodgers

When most thirty year marriages end in court, the hilarity escapes me, but it's almost impossible to read up on the pending divorce of Dodger owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, while maintaining a straight face. The AP account reports excess you'd expect from one of LA's most notable power couples:

Jamie McCourt's filing states she is seeking reinstatement as the team's CEO as well as access to perks including travel by private jet, stays at five-star resorts and use of the Dodgers owners' suite. She wants $321,000 a month in spousal support if reinstated to her former position. If not, she believes she should be paid nearly $488,000 per month.

Here's the LA lawyers, girding for battle:

There are estate records that list Frank McCourt as the team's sole owner, said Bert Fields, Jamie McCourt's attorney.However, the lawyer who drafted the documents alerted Jamie McCourt to the mistake last year in front of her husband who acknowledged the paperwork should have reflected the co-ownership of the Dodgers, Fields said.

"It was always supposed to 50-50," Fields said. "New documents were drafted, but they were never signed."

Frank McCourt's lawyer, Marshall Grossman, called the account a "fairy tale" and said the marital agreement lists the Dodgers and the adjoining property, including Dodger Stadium, as his client's separate assets and the couple's homes belonged to Jamie McCourt.

"This is the deal Mrs. McCourt wanted and got," Grossman said. "She now wants everything put back as community property. Even a chef knows you can't unscramble the eggs."

Wait, it gets better.

Frank McCourt:

...said he has allowed Jamie McCourt to identify herself as "co-owner" for the "interests of family harmony" but her claim has damaged the Dodger organization.

Wow. That's some family man. Once I offered my wife a club sandwich in the interests of family harmony, but never an actual club! This Frank is some sport.

Jamie McCourt

...claims her husband plotted to boot her from the team's front office as a way to "humiliate and ostracize" her. She said she was excluded from management decisions.

My impression is, if you're categorically "excluded from management decisions", you probably aint the CEO of much. Nevertheless, this is a formidable woman who sees herself as the engine behind Dodger success. From a 2007 issue of Jewish Woman:

Transforming the Dodgers into a family business is nothing new for McCourt. After 15 years with her own law practice, she spent a decade as vice president and general counsel of The McCourt Company, her husband’s real estate development firm. "We have completely different skill sets," she says of working successfully with her husband. "He’s the visionary and I’m the one who actualizes the vision."

This is what's hard to reconcile. If you're genuinely seen - within the organization - as an equal authority (ownership) figure and you've additionally established yourself as the hands on partner who 'actualizes the vision', how can you reasonably be "excluded from management decisions"? Practically speaking, how could that happen? It just doesnt sound to me like Jamie McCourt had much support or allegiance high up in the organization, and if that's true, she wasnt the CEO or co-anything, beyond ceremonial title.

Of potential interest to Dback fans, one of the McCourts' sons was installed as Dodgers' "Director of Marketing" a while back, although I couldnt pinpoint when. One would think this slot would've been right up Derrick Hall's alley, and I note Derrick left the Dodgers shortly after the McCourts arrived, as well as the fact the son has since left the post and returned to "business school". Interesting career path, to say the least, and one has to wonder if this nepotism hastened Hall's departure.


Russell said...

"Even a chef knows you can't unscramble the eggs." This makes no sense. A chef would be the first peson to know this not the last.

It's also hard to believe that somebody with their own law practice was so lax (not the airport) about signing documents.

Diamondhacks said...

Yes. It is hard to believe...a lawyer wouldnt know you cant unscramble eggs.


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