McCourt lawyers begin negotiations in divorce case that could determine Dodger ownershipBy Greg Risling, AP
Friday, September 24, 2010
McCourts begin negotiations in divorce case
LOS ANGELES — Mediation has begun between Jamie and Frank McCourt in their divorce trial that could determine future ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The couple on Friday appeared with their attorneys in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom before Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman.
The negotiations, which are closed to media, could spill into the weekend if a deal hasn’t been reached.
Jamie McCourt wants a judge to toss out a postnuptial marital agreement and clear the way for her to have a slice of the Dodgers under California’s community property law. Frank McCourt believes he is the sole owner and the agreement should be upheld.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys for Jamie and Frank McCourt are scheduled to meet in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Friday to negotiate a possible settlement in a contentious divorce case that could determine future ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A different judge will preside over the discussions, which could spill into the weekend if a deal isn’t reached, according to court spokesman Allan Parachini.
Jamie McCourt wants Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to toss out a postnuptial marital agreement, signed by the couple in March 2004, so she can have a slice of the Dodgers under California’s community property law. Frank McCourt believes he is the sole owner and the pact should be upheld.
On Thursday, attorney Larry Silverstein capped three days of testimony in which he said he switched a key portion of the marital agreement that went from excluding the Dodgers from Frank McCourt’s separate property to including the team. He didn’t tell either McCourt about the “mistake,” saying he regretted doing so.
“I admit it was not the best practice,” Silverstein said.
Silverstein maintains Jamie McCourt wanted her husband’s businesses separate from her assets — a group of luxurious homes — to protect them from his creditors. He also said she didn’t want to be a team owner and was more comfortable with management roles. Jamie McCourt was the Dodgers former CEO before her estranged husband fired her late last year.
“She never indicated she wanted an ownership interest in the Dodgers,” Silverstein said.
He also said that when the couple thought about making all of their assets community property a couple of years ago, Jamie McCourt balked at his request to sign documents in order for Major League Baseball to consider her as an owner of the Dodgers.
“She said she wasn’t going to sign any bleeping MLB forms,” he said.
Jamie McCourt’s legal team claimed her husband and Silverstein engaged in fraud by making the correction without telling their client. Both Silverstein and Frank McCourt denied the allegation during their testimony.
Silverstein said Wednesday he wrote the word “exclusive” in a draft of the agreement to reflect that the team and the businesses were Frank McCourt’s alone. It turns out that Silverstein gave the couple six copies to sign at their Massachusetts home in March 2004, three of which had the Dodgers as Frank McCourt’s separate property, and three others that didn’t.
Tags: California, Divorce And Separations, Los Angeles, Neighborhoods, North America, Professional Baseball, Residential Real Estate, Sports Business, United States