McCourt divorce case to wrap up Wednesday; judge has 90 days to make decision

By Greg Risling, AP
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

McCourt divorce case set to conclude Wednesday

LOS ANGELES — A judge will hear closing arguments Wednesday in the divorce trial of Jamie and Frank McCourt that could decide the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At issue is whether a postnuptial marital agreement signed by the couple in 2004 is valid under California law. The 10-page document gives Frank McCourt the team, the stadium and the surrounding land and provided Jamie McCourt a half-dozen luxurious homes.

However, during the trial it was revealed the couple unwittingly signed two different versions, one that included the Dodgers as Frank McCourt’s separate asset, and three that didn’t.

The couple’s attorney, who advised them and helped draft the agreement, testified he swapped out the addendum that went from excluding the Dodgers from Frank McCourt’s separate property to including the team and failed to tell the couple.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon has 90 days to decide whether Frank McCourt is the team’s sole owner or if the pact should be thrown out and the couple’s assets divided under California’s community property law. He also could order the sale of the team.

The McCourts, armed with a cadre of high-powered lawyers, have met at the negotiating table several times, the most recent coming on Friday with no resolution. Both sides are expected to resume mediation on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10, according to court spokesman Allan Parachini.

Jamie McCourt was fired in October as the team’s CEO, a job that paid her a $2 million salary. She filed for divorce the same month, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple have been married since 1979 and have four grown sons.

She lost her initial bid to be reinstated as the team’s chief executive but was awarded $225,000 a month in temporary spousal support along with having her estranged husband pay more than $400,000 a month for the couple’s six homes and a condominium. She had been seeking nearly $1 million a month; Frank McCourt had offered her $150,000.

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