September 22, 2010
Since last October, the ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been up in the air, due to the ongoing divorce battle between the current owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt. But things may be about to turn around, as the couple is reportedly heading into divorce mediation this Friday.
According to Fanhouse, the McCourts will appear before Judge Peter Lichtman of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, who will serve as the mediator.
Frank McCourt claims that he is the sole owner of the Major League Baseball franchise, but Jamie McCourt and her legal team counters that she should have a stake in the Dodgers because of conflicting documents that the couple signed. Boston attorney Larry Silverstein has admitted making drafting errors in six separate documents, three of which list the Dodgers as the husband’s separate property. In addition, she maintains that she never read a post-nuptial agreement that awarded Frank McCourt sole ownership of the team.
Steve Susman, Frank McCourt’s divorce lawyer, told the Associated Press in August that McCourt had offered his wife a very generous sum of money in their negotiations. Previous attempts to settle the divorce in New York City and Colorado have ended up going nowhere. One source mentioned to Fanhouse that having Lichtman serve as the mediator was one of Frank McCourts conditions for negotiations, but that Jamie McCourt has been unwilling to go along with this until now.
If Judge Lichtman cannot facilitate an agreement between the McCourts, it will be up to Judge Scott Gordon, who has been presiding over the case since the beginning, to decide what will become of the Los Angeles Dodgers — whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner, both spouses are co-owners or the franchise is community property. The trial could end as early as next week, after which Judge Gordon would have to reach a decision in less than three months.
The McCourts married in 1979. They bought the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2004; the team has made the National League Championship Series twice under their ownership.