Delaware Bankruptcy Court judge Kevin Gross -- no not the former Dodgers pitcher -- ruled against Frank McCourt and the Dodgers today, ordering them to negotiate with Major League Baseball for the $150 million bankruptcy loan. However, the judge also ordered that MLB can't use the loan to control or takeover the Dodgers, which they could have done under the MLB constitution.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times has covered the McCourt saga extensively since Frank and Jamie McCourt announced their separation in October 2009. After the ruling, Shakin tweeted, "McCourt had argued he, like all debtors, entitled to use business judgment to pick loan. By not disclosing his personal financial stake in proposed loan, judge said McCourt betrayed that judgment and opened door for court to consider loans on strictly financial terms."
The sticking point for Judge Gross was that McCourt did not disclose a $5.5 million fee due to Highbridge Capital Management as part of the loan he secured. In the ruling, per Shaikin, Judge Gross said "McCourt's originally undisclosed personal liability to Highbridge 'clearly compromised McCourt's judgment'."
Attorneys for MLB said on Wednesday they would be amenable to changing their loan proposal in any way to appease the court, with Tom Lauria telling the court, "Tell us what you need. We're here to help the team." So, for now, McCourt is still in charge of the Dodgers, with a pending bankruptcy loan from MLB.
The next big fight will be over the television rights. McCourt desperately needs a new TV deal, with upfront money, to survive, while MLB has already rejected a proposed multi-billion contract with Fox.
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