It is not often that divorce attorneys in Pasadena see a case that could affect a whole metropolitan city. In the case of Los Angeles, the city's beloved baseball team is hanging in the balance of just such a case. The future of the Los Angeles Dodgers is in the hands of a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge presiding over the divorce of the team's owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie. Frank McCourt is doing everything he can to get a divorce settlement that will allow him to retain ownership of the Major League team. Unfortunately for him, Jamie considers herself co-owner of the Dodgers and is seeking to retain ownership of the team in her own right.
The couple made a marriage agreement in 2004, and they have been fighting it out over that agreement in the courts. Frank McCourt is deeply in debt. Some sources say that he could be up to $1 billion in the hole. Meanwhile, he was hoping to retain his ownership of the Dodgers, arguing that he bought the team with a company he owned before he was married to Jamie McCourt.
Judge Scott Gordon of the Los Angeles Superior Court has made his final ruling on the issue, after both sides were allowed to make arguments. He has ruled that Jamie McCourt is allowed to seek half-ownership of the team. Frank fired Jamie as the team's CEO in 2009.
So not only is Frank McCourt seriously strapped for cash, his role in running the Dodgers is uncertain. These points taken together make for very uncertain times for the team. Current decisions need to be made to ensure the team remains competitive and to uphold the Dodger brand, but without funding and without a final decision in divorce court, the team is restricted in what it can do.
In order to allow the team to maintain its operating expenses, the Fox television network has given Frank McCourt a cash advance. Usually, at this time of year, the team's operating expenses are relatively low because it is the off-season. The fact that the team needs a cash advance at this time is curious. Some are wondering if the franchise is in immediate financial trouble, due to the timing of the cash advance issued by Fox.