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.
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