It was a lengthy and very costly high-profile divorce that eventually left Jamie McCourt, 62, without her half of more than $2 billion.
In 2011, she and her husband, Frank McCourt, reached a divorce settlement, which awarded her $131 million and four homes, and had her give up her rights to the Dodgers – the L.A. baseball team the couple had equal ownership of since 2004. Little did she know that, weeks later, her husband would sell the team for more than $2 billion – a team she says she helped grow. Her attempt to appeal the original settlement was unsuccessful.
Learning from her mistakes, Jamie is now traveling to colleges and universities throughout the U.S. to teach young women how to stay on top financially. Her speech is titled “Money: Why you need it, why you should want it, and how to get it.” She is also considering launching a nationwide initiative to teach financial literacy to young girls in grade-school.
“I could not have been more ignorant or naive about my own financial situation, and I ended up paying dearly for that mistake,” Jamie said during a speech at an MIT conference in December. “In fact, I have a thesis that the smarter a woman is, the more she thinks she can handle everything and fix everything. And I’m here to tell you that’s not true.”
According to Jamie, in 2011, Frank had filed for bankruptcy protection when he was no longer able to meet the Dodgers’ financial obligations. “I had commingled all of my money – handed it over to him with no questions asked. I thought we were in it together, for the four boys. I could not have been more wrong,” she explained. “I had to listen to him and his lawyers tell the court that, in spite of our 40 years together and 32 years of marriage, I deserved nothing.”
The Dodgers team was sold to the Guggenheim group. Frank continues to own the L.A. Marathon, half of the Dodger Stadium parking lots, and a horse-jumping tour. Since the divorce, Jamie has been involved in several start-ups, bought a Napa vineyard, and has been active in the arts.
The two separated and began the divorce process in October 2009, the same month Frank had fired Jamie from her position as CEO of the Dodgers.