Frank McCourt and the Dodgers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware court, asking for among other things, a chance for competitive bidding for a new TV contract that could be worth up to $3 billion. MLB has yet to respond.

Frank McCourt Files For Bankruptcy Protection For Dodgers

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21 Total Updates since April 20, 2011
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Frank McCourt, Dodgers File For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Well, it seems like the inevitable has finally happens. After months of will-they or won't-they, Frank McCourt is bringing the Los Angeles Dodgers into Bankruptcy Court. They have filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a news release, the decision to file bankruptcy was described as a move to "protect the franchise financially and provide a path that will enable the club to consummate a media transaction and capitalize the team."

In what has been an incredibly embarrassing few months for the organization, this might be the absolute worst part of the whole thing. The Dodgers, one of the proudest franchises in all of Baseball, can not afford to make their payroll because of the divorce between their owners. Now, Frank McCourt has lined up some interim financing to help see the organization through this troubled time, but I wouldn't be surprised if control was taken from him by Major League Baseball sooner rather than later.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Frank McCourt, Bud Selig On Collision Course Over Dodgers

When MLB commissioner Bud Selig rejected the Dodgers' proposed multi-billion dollar television contract with Fox on Monday, the stage was set for a potential showdown with Selig and Frank McCourt. With McCourt reportedly unable to make payroll on June 30, MLB will likely step in and seize control of the Dodgers. The question remains, however, just what does that entail?

McCourt seems ready for a fight. "There is the possibility of some fairly acrimonious and extreme litigation going forward, which Frank is hopeful will not occur," attorney Bob Sacks told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. "If baseball were to act precipitously against Frank, which has been threatened, then there will be a showdown on that issue."

At issue is potentially millions of dollars of revenue each year in tickets and parking that McCourt claims he would still control even if no longer owner of the Dodgers. Josh Fisher has been covering the McCourts for nearly two years at Dodger Divorce, and summarizes Frank's position as so:

The takeaway: Frank is essentially painting a picture that baseball, should it take over the Dodgers, would not have access to very significant revenue streams. The rest of baseball's owners would be footing a great load of the bills. A new owner, purchasing the Dodgers at some sort of forced sale, would have to also buy out Frank's contractual relationships above or run the franchise without them.

However, as Shaikin notes, the MLB constitution gives the commissioner wide-ranging authority which MLB believes includes the tickets and parking. "We are confident in our legal position that the multitude of legal assets created by Mr. McCourt that hold club assets are bound by the major league constitution," said MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred. One thing appears certain: both sides are digging in their heels, and a fight seems inevitable.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Reaction To Rejection Of Dodgers TV Deal: Frank McCourt, Bud Selig Seem Headed For Legal Battle

With Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejecting the Dodgers multi-billion television contract with Fox, the stage appears set for Frank McCourt's exit as owner of the Dodgers. With the Dodgers reportedly unable to make their June 30 payroll, MLB could step in and seize the team in as soon as 10 days.

However, McCourt will not go down without a fight. Attorney Steve Susman released a statement through the Dodgers calling Selig's decision "potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball." Josh Fisher, owner of the must-read website DodgerDivorce.com, on ESPN.com reported on a potential "poison pill" should McCourt be forced to sell the team, in the form of parking and other revenue:

Sources familiar with Frank McCourt's strategy indicated Monday that significant sources of Dodgers revenue would not be available to Major League Baseball or another owner without McCourt's consent. These are said to include a $21 million annual lease obligation owed from the team to a McCourt entity for the club's use of the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium and any ticket revenue in excess of the $6 to $7 million per year of service on certain McCourt debt, according to the sources. This year's figures were not available, but the surplus cash after debt service exceeded $60 million in 2005. Both of these revenue streams are slated to stay with McCourt for at least 20 more years.

Fisher also hinted at a potential legal battle between McCourt and Selig, even though the MLB constitution does not allow for owners to "challenge the authority of the commissioner." Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports noted the clause but does not think it will be much of an impediment to a lawsuit:

McCourt’s history suggests he is unlikely to go along. He could attempt to challenge Selig’s authority to block the deal with Fox, a legal battle Selig is believed to be prepared for.

This could get ugly, folks.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Attorney For Frank McCourt Calls Bud Selig Rejection Of Fox TV Deal 'Potentially Destructive' To Dodgers, MLB

After MLB commissioner Bud Selig rejected the Dodgers' multi-billion television deal with Fox, Frank McCourt is understandably not pleased with the decision. Attorney Steve Susman, of Susman Godfrey, released a statement on behalf of McCourt and the Dodgers calling Selig's decision "potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball."

Susman also contended that the deal with Fox "would inject $235 million into the Los Angeles Dodgers," though court records last week showed the upfront money to be $385 million, meaning as much as $150 million would not be going into the team, but rather the McCourts. Susman continued:

All the requirements for the Commissioner to approve the FOX transaction were put in place by last Friday: Frank and Jamie McCourt entered into an agreement based on the proposed transaction; the Court ordered, among other things, that the FOX transaction is "in the best interest of the Los Angeles Dodgers and should be consummated immediately;" and all information requested by Major League Baseball under its so-called investigation has been provided by the Dodgers.

Susman's final line of the statement sounds like a warning of future litigation, which was to be expected, saying "We plan to explore vigorously our options and remedies with respect to Commissioner Selig’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction and our commitment to protect the long-term best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers."

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Bud Selig Rejects Dodgers TV Deal With Fox

Remember that divorce settlement reached by Frank and Jamie McCourt last week? It turns out it is null and void now, as MLB commissioner Bud Selig has rejected the Dodgers' proposed television deal with Fox, reportedly worth between $1.7 billion $3 billion. Selig issued a statement on Monday:

Mr. McCourt has been provided with an expansive analysis of my reasons for rejecting this proposed transaction. Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt. Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.

Under the divorce settlement reached last week, now null and void with the disapproval of the television contract, up to $173.5 million of the $385 million in up front payments by Fox to the Dodgers would have been used by the McCourts. This also means that the Dodgers are unlikely to be able to make payroll next week, on June 30, without that upfront TV money, so MLB will likely seize full control of the organization soon.

Expect a flurry of lawsuits before this ordeal is settled.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Frank And Jamie McCourt Reach Divorce Settlement

Frank and Jamie McCourt have reached a divorce settlement, finally ending their 20-month long battle. Their long fight over ownership of the Dodgers has appeared to reach an end, though with a twist. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported that the settlement is contingent upon Major League Baseball approving the Dodgers' pending television contract extension with Fox.

However, approval of the TV deal doesn't seem likely, at least anytime soon. The Dodgers are currently under investigation by MLB, which is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the club. Commissioner Bud Selig has said that until the investigation is over, he will not approve any TV deal, which Frank McCourt needs as a cash infusion, as up to $300 million of the deal, reported to be between $1.6 and $3 billion depending on the value of partial ownership of Prime Ticket, will be paid to the Dodgers right away.

However, it's the robbing tomorrow to pay today mentality that has the Dodgers in their current financial mess anyway, and one that Selig will not bend over backwards to allow to continue. The Dodgers will reportedly not have enough funds to meet their June 30 payroll, at which point MLB would step in and completely seize the team. It is unlikely that MLB will approve the TV deal before then, or perhaps even before August 4, when the Dodgers will be determined sole or community property by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

Now, we wait, for either the Dodgers to miss a payroll, or McCourt to sue MLB for not approving an agreed-upon TV deal, or perhaps both.

For more news and information on the Dodgers, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Dodgers May Struggle To Make June 30 Payroll

Despite a divorce that has been pulling the two owners of the organization apart, the Dodgers have been able to make payroll so far this season. According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers will make the next payroll payment, but they might struggle to make a payment on June 30.

The Dodgers appear to have "no chance" to meet the June 30 payroll without a cash infusion from a new television contract, according to a person familiar with McCourt's finances but not authorized to discuss them. If McCourt misses payroll, Selig could make the payments for him, seize the team and put it up for sale.

The Dodgers will owe about $10 million in payroll this Wednesday, but the payment they will have to make on June 30 will be about three times that, as the Dodgers will be start to pay off some deferred contracts, most notably $8 million owed to Manny Ramirez.

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MLB Requesting Greater Access To Dodgers' Financial Records

The Los Angeles Dodgers, particularly owner Frank McCourt, have turned over a number of documents to MLB, but they have only been available to them in a virtual library at Dodger Stadium. According to Ronald Blum of the AP, that isn't good enough for MLB because they won't be able to take the documents with them when they leave for further examination at a later date. So they are requesting access to the documents in a different form.

As for a timetable for when a decision about the future of the Dodgers might come through, we aren't really close to that either. This quote from Tom Schieffer, who was appointed by Bud Selig to monitor the team's finances last month.

“I just keep saying, you can’t tell how long it’s going to be because you don’t know what you don’t know. We’ll find that out as we go along, and I think if we can just determine what the facts are, then we’ll be in a position to know what options are available to us.”

I know McCourt must be frustrated, but he has to let all of these things come to light or else this process will continue to drag out longer. And the longer we take a look at the McCourt thing, the worse it looks for him.

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Frank McCourt Still Waiting On A Call Back From Bud Selig

Despite all the coverage the story has received, we still don't know a ton about the exact arrangements of MLB's takeover of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Apparently Dodgers owner Frank McCourt doesn't know as much as he would like to either, and he can't get a hold of Bud Selig to get any answers. In an interview on CNBC, McCourt said that he is still waiting for a callback from the Commissioner's office.

I just want to talk to Bud. I'm sure I'll learn a lot more. You know, guys, we all you know run into different jams at different times and how do you solve them? You communicate. You sit down if you're interested in solving a problem, you sit down to talk about a solution. At least that's what I've found in my business career. And I've tried to talk to Bud for several weeks. He's ducking me. I don't know why.

Very rarely have I found myself agreeing with McCourt in this whole situation, but there is absolutely nothing to gain from shutting down the lines of communication entirely. I'm not sure what Selig's angle is on this, if it is in fact true, but I hope that they can get back into contact soon. It can't possibly hurt.

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MLB To Frank McCourt: No Decision Made On Dodgers' TV Deal

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt held a press conference today after meeting with Major League Baseball, claiming that his 17-year television deal had been rejected by MLB, and expressing disappointment in the league's overseeing of the club. However, MLB disagrees. "Mr. McCourt is well aware of the basis of Baseball's investigation and has been provided an eight-page document describing the issues of concern to Major League Baseball," said Rob Manfred, the league's Executive Vice President of Labor Relations. From the statement by Manfred:

It is unfortunate that Mr. McCourt felt it necessary to publicize the content of a private meeting. It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourt's public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, Commissioner Selig did not 'veto' a proposed transaction. Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the Commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the Club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances.

Furthermore, Tom Schieffer's role has been clearly explained to McCourt and the Dodgers, said Manfred, adding, "In our meeting, no one from the Dodgers asked a single, specific question about the terms of the document setting forth the monitor's role."

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Frank McCourt: 'Nobody Handed Me The Dodgers, And I’m Not Going Anywhere'

Frank McCourt was in New York Wednesday meeting with Major League Baseball, and he made it clear he would not give up control of the Dodgers without a fight. McCourt presented a new television deal worth as much as $3 billion over 17 years, including an equity stake for the Dodgers in Prime Ticket, but the deal was ultimately rejected by commissioner Bud Selig, who was not present at today's meeting.

"I came to New York for one reason: to present a fully drafted and fully negotiated, ready to be signed, waiting for MLB approval," McCourt said. "We were ready to make any changes necessary as MLB saw fit." McCourt also said $300 million would be paid upfront by Fox to the Dodgers, and that money would be re-invested into the Dodgers, and that McCourt was willing to put that in writing.

On his relationship with Selig, McCourt said, "I suspect commissioner Selig calls the other 29 other owners back when they call."

McCourt was defiant throughout his press conference today, saying MLB had no right to take away his team. "Nobody handed me the Dodgers, and I’m not going anywhere," McCourt said. "It's my money invested in the Dodgers. It's my liability." He called MLB's appointment of Tom Schieffer to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers "Un-American."

As for MLB stepping in, McCourt said if Schieffer's role was simply to oversee the club, he would welcome him. But, if Schieffer's role was as a receiver, essentially in charge of the Dodgers, McCourt would not abide by that. When asked whether he would sue, McCourt was noncommittal, but said repeatedly that the Dodgers were his and he didn't plan on giving them up.

Meanwhile, Schieffer was in Los Angeles, holding his own press conference, during which he said he was now in control of the Dodgers. It looks like this will get a lot uglier before it gets better.

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Tom Schieffer Named By MLB To Oversee Dodgers Day-To-Day Operations

Major League Baseball has decided to appoint Tom Schieffer, a former president of the Texas Rangers, as trustee to oversee the day-to-day operations and finances of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move, which was announced on Monday, completes last week's announcement by commissioner Bud Selig the MLB would be taking over the running of the Dodgers.Schieffer has quite a history, in and out of baseball.

A former attorney, Schieffer, 63, was elected to the Texas state House of Representatives at age 25, and served three terms. He was an investor in the Rangers' ownership group under George W. Bush, and after his days in Texas worked with Bush again. Schieffer was the United States Ambassador to Australia from 2001-2005 and then was the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2005-2009.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of Tom Schieffer's stature monitor the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers on behalf of Major League Baseball," Selig said on Monday. "Tom is a distinguished public servant who has represented the nation with excellence and has demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout his career. The many years that he spent managing the operations of a successful franchise will benefit the Dodgers and Major League Baseball as a whole. I am grateful for Tom's acceptance of this role."

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA

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New Details Emerge Around MLB's Takeover Of The Dodgers

MLB has been in control of the Dodgers for a few days now, and we are starting to learn a little bit more about the circumstances that necessitated the takeover, as well as the commissioner's plan for the organization in the immediate future. Bud Selig held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce a new pension program with the players, but the topic of the Dodgers inevitably came up. Selig went through a similar situation early in his career with the Rangers, and John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times reports that the commissioner can see some parallels between the two situations.

"I thought a lot about it," he said. "I went back and looked at a lot of things, including some things that happened in my career. I said a couple weeks ago that people said this Texas thing [when the league facilitated the sale of the Rangers] was awful, and I said at the time that we'll work our way through. And I believe we'll work our way through this thing."

In a separate article from the Los Angeles Times, Diane Pucin has some more information on the loan that Frank McCourt got from Fox to make payroll.

The $30-million personal loan that Fox gave Dodgers owner Frank McCourt last week was not only to help him meet payroll and pay for increased security after the shocking beating of a San Francisco Giants fan, but also to stay in McCourt's favor after learning he had approached rival Time Warner Cable for a similar loan.

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New Dodgers Vice Chairman Soboroff: 'We Need More People Like Frank McCourt'

It appears Frank McCourt won't give up control of the Los Angeles Dodgers without a fight. While commissioner Bud Selig isn't in McCourt's corner, deciding Wednesday to oversee day-to-day operations and finances of the Dodgers, Steve Soboroff is on Team Frank. Soboroff, a former advisor to L.A. mayor Richrd Riordan, was hired by the Dodgers Tuesday as Vice Chairman "with responsibility for leading efforts to improve the fan experience at the stadium, strengthening ties to the region’s community and philanthropic organizations, and expanding conservation and sustainability programs at Dodger Stadium."

Soboroff, not surprisingly, is fully supporting his new boss, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:

"This is like having money in the bank and having somebody hold your ATM card," Soboroff said. "The money is in the bank. The Fox deal is done. These actions are not allowing him to access money. That's a lot different than saying he's got financial problems."

They have made a decision they want somebody else," Soboroff said. "There's a predetermined campaign to blow him out of town. I think it's irresponsible and it's hurting the city.

"We need more people like Frank McCourt."

This isn't the first time Soboroff has defended McCourt. Soboroff wrote an editorial for the Los Angeles Times last September, imploring people to stop "piling on" McCourt. No matter the end result of these actions by MLB regarding the Dodgers, it appears Frank McCourt will have at least one loyal soldier in his corner until the bitter end.

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Frank McCourt Responds To MLB Running Dodgers Operations

It took over seven hours, but Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has finally responded to Bud Selig and Major League Baseball, who announced today they would be overseeing the finances and day-to-day operations of the Dodgers. The statement from McCourt was short, sweet, and defiant, saying only, "Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow.  The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines.  On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner's action today."

Earlier today, in his statement announcing MLB's takeover of the Dodgers, commissioner Selig said, "The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Jamie McCourt, Mark Cuban React To MLB Taking Over Dodgers

As news of Major League Baseball stepping in to oversee the day-to-day operations and finances of the Los Angeles Dodgers broke on Wednesday, reaction has been coming from many angles. Frank McCourt, who is getting his baby taken away, hasn't said anything yet, but a statement of some sort, if not a lawsuit, will almost assuredly be forthcoming. Jamie McCourt however, embroiled in a bitter divorce with Frank for well over a year, did speak on Wednesday.

"As the 50% owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I welcome and support the Commissioner’s actions to provide the necessary transparency, guidance and direction for the franchise and for Dodgers fans everywhere," Jamie McCourt said in a statement, per Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times. While MLB's involvement is clearly the beginning of the end of McCourt ownership of the Dodgers, it might not be the best news for Jamie. Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce explains:

The necessity of MLB intervention in the first place is likely terrible news for [Jamie]. Her biggest payday was going to come from either a sale of the team at market value or a massive check coming from the infusion of new capital in Frank's ownership of the Dodgers, through a sale of a minority share, the creation of a new cable network, or a lucrative extension of the club's current TV deal. Now, everything is in limbo.

As for finding another possible owner for the Dodgers, that remains several steps down the road. But, Darren Rovell of CNBC caught up with Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban, who lost a bidding war for the Texas Rangers in 2010. ""I won't participate in a bidding scenario, but I'm happy to take a look if the team is for sale," Cuban told Rovell.

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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Reaction To MLB Take Over Of Dodgers: Good Riddance, Frank McCourt

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has announced today that MLB is overseeing all day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, meaning all trades and major expenses must be approved by whomever is appointed by MLB. Reaction has been swift throughout baseball regarding this turn of events, and the overwhelming sentiment seems to be good riddance to Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt.

McCourt met with MLB a few weeks ago with a proposal for future finances, as he tries to buyout his ex-wife Jamie, with whom he is locked in a bitter, and public, divorce battle. A Los Angeles court ruled this winter that Jamie is in fact entitled to half of the Dodgers, per California marriage law, which complicates the highly-leveraged Frank's plans to continue as sole owner. Per Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated:

While Selig hasn't ruled on McCourt's proposal, there is no evidence he has any inclination to do anything to help McCourt keep the soap opera going. The bottom line: Baseball doesn't want to see McCourt take future monies to pay off non-baseball expenses. And frankly, it surely doesn't want to see him around anymore.

New York Daily News writer Jesse Spector, referring to the once-MLB-owned Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington DC under Selig's watch, joked in a tweet, "If there's justice in the world, MLB will move the Dodgers to Montreal.

It is yet unknown who will be appointed to oversee the Dodgers, but it could be any number of people. Both Joe Torre and Kim Ng, who were with the Dodgers last year, now work for MLB but they seem like long shots for that role. Former owner Peter O'Malley would be an immensely popular choice, but Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that nobody from MLB has contacted O'Malley.

What we do know is that this move likely means the beginning of the end of Frank McCourt ownership of the Dodgers. The only question now is how long until McCourt is gone?

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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MLB To Take Over Day-To-Day Operations Of Dodgers

Major League Baseball has announced that it will appoint a representative to oversee all financial and day-to-day business operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This move is likely the first official step in the beginning of the end of Frank McCourt ownership of the Dodgers. Commissioner Bud Selig issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt's ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

Concerns over McCourt's debt load have been around since he bought the club in 2004, but have come to a head in the last year and a half as Frank has been battling his wife Jamie in a very public divorce and subsequent fight over the Dodgers. Just last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Frank McCourt received a $30 million personal loan from Fox to cover team expenses, including payroll.

"The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future," Selig added in today's statement.

For more Dodgers news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.

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