06/17/11 3:30 PM ET
McCourts reach divorce settlement
One-day trial to be held to determine ownership of Dodgers
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
The settlement, according to the Los Angeles Times, is contingent upon Major League Baseball's approval of a 17-year television contract that has been reached between the Dodgers and FOX -- a deal that he said is crucial to the Dodgers' finances. If MLB rejects the agreement, the divorce settlement would be voided and the McCourts would resume proceedings in divorce court.
Dennis Wasser, an attorney for Jamie McCourt, told The Associated Press he hopes the TV deal is finalized early next week.
"I fully expect MLB to approve the FOX transaction," Frank McCourt told the media on Friday. "MLB has taken the position that, before they approved the transaction, they wanted to see either a settlement of the divorce, or Jamie's consent, or an order from the judge. Today, they received all three. I fully expect that they will be good to their word, and they'll approve the transaction in a timely way."
A spokesman for Major League Baseball said that the Commissioner's Office would have no comment regarding the latest proceedings in the divorce settlement.
MLB has not announced a decision on the TV deal. Sources told the Times that Frank McCourt has "no chance" of meeting the Dodgers' June 30 payroll if MLB does not approve the FOX contract, but McCourt disagrees.
"I fully anticipate that to be a moot point," he said.
The McCourts also agreed to a one-day trial on Aug. 4, at which time Judge Scott Gordon can make a final determination on whether the Dodgers belong solely to Frank McCourt or whether the team should be treated as community property.
If the judge determines that the Dodgers are community property, the McCourts would split their assets in half, which would push the sale of the team unless Frank McCourt raises hundreds of millions of dollars to buy out his ex-wife, according to the Times.
If Gordon rules that the Dodgers are property of Frank McCourt, then Jamie McCourt would get $100 million, keep the former couple's homes and receive indemnity from tax liability, the Times added.
"The most important thing for me is to have resolution," Jamie McCourt said on Friday. "I think it's the most important thing for my family, my children, certainly the fans, and certainly baseball. The quicker there is resolution, which is what we have been trying to accomplish for the past two years, the better."
The McCourts filed for divorce 20 months ago, putting the state of the Dodgers in limbo. In April, MLB assumed control of the organization by appointing former Rangers president Tom Schieffer as a monitor.
With the settlement, about $50 million will be placed in an account subject to Gordon's orders, $10 million will be used for attorneys' fees, $80 million will go toward paying off debt, and the majority of the remaining funds would be used for the Dodgers, according to the AP.
"It has dragged out far too long," Frank McCourt said. "I'm sorry that the fans have had to go through this. I feel horrible about it. But I'm really pleased and relieved today that we can finally put this phase behind us and move forward and go play and win baseball games."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.