Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frank McCourt Finally Runs Out Of Other People's Money

When it comes time to put Frank McCourt into the Hall of Fame for "Worst Professional Sports Owners In History" - and why, honestly don't we have such a Hall of Fame? I'm thinking you could have exhibits where you throw rotten tomatoes at statues of guys like Bill Bidwell, Art Modell, or Donald Sterling - I'm guessing it'll be a unanimous vote.

Sure, the guy did help "deliver" two appearances in the NLCS in his short reign, but that doesn't justify looting the team financially like he was Uday and Qusay Hussein in the dying days of Saddam's Iraq.

Here's the guts of the excellent SI article on the McCourt "Era" with the Dodgers, titled "Wretched Excess".

Frank, a real estate developer who started out in the 1970s by building parking lots in Boston, took the stand. L.A. Weekly reported that he blinks 75 times per minute under questioning.

Dodgers supporters inched forward in the gallery, one wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with VLADIMIR SHPUNT, the name of the Russian physicist and spiritual healer whom the McCourts hired to send positive vibes to the team. "I don't think I want to be a lawyer anymore," said the Shpunt fan, 19-year-old Dexter O'Connell, a sophomore at the University of Chicago.

The case hinges on one word in a post-nuptial agreement that was drawn up in 2004. The McCourts signed six copies of it, but the copies are not identical—in three of them the Dodgers are included in Frank's separate property; in three others they are not. While Frank's side claims that the inconsistency was caused by an innocuous clerical error, and all six copies should have included the Dodgers among his assets, Jamie's side charges deceit. She signed the agreement that gives Frank ownership of the team, but her attorneys argue that she did not read it or know what she was signing—despite her having received a law degree from Maryland and an M.B.A. from MIT.

The thousands of court documents filed in this case—"We have cut down a forest," says a lawyer involved—serve as tinder for burning any credibility the couple ever had. The documents detail the lifestyle of the vulgar rich, stretching even L.A.'s relaxed boundaries of excess: nine properties with a total value of more than $108 million, seven country-club memberships, $800,000 per year paid for private security, $600,000 per year paid through the Dodgers to two of their four sons who did not have titles with the team, $400,000 paid in 2007 alone to an employee to run a charity and $150,000 per year paid to a hairstylist who coiffed the McCourts five days a week.

According to court documents and statements by Frank's lawyers, he did not put down any of his own money to buy the Dodgers and watched his checking account dip as low as $167,000 last year.

According to court filings by Jamie, he has legally circumvented all state and federal income taxes since 2004. "His livelihood is doing projects on borrowed money," says Frank's attorney Steve Susman, the assault weapon himself. TheLos Angeles Times,in concert with an accounting firm, reported last week that Frank is $433 million in debt and has been turned down three times in the last year for additional financing to run the Dodgers. Major League Baseball, which approved McCourt's ownership bid with some of his parking lots as collateral, declined to comment on the case.

And to think Major League Baseball owners actively maneuvered to keep Mark Cuban from buying the Cubs! Like he was some "bad owner" that they needed to keep out? I don't get it. I mean, what exactly, is the "vetting" process for a potential MLB owner?

Of course, just like the "post-nup" agreement that Jamie McCourt and her lawyers instantly said meant nothing in her divorce case, Frank is prepared to pretend that the document he signed before taking control of the Dodgers that no matter what, you CANNOT SUE MLB, is also a legal document that means nothing.

So at this point I ask a practical question: "Why even have legal documents when they just get challenged anyway?"

Oh yeah, one last little nugget. Despite the McCourt's spending $800,000 PER YEAR on their OWN personal security, the Dodgers did not have employed anybody under the title of "Head of Security" for the team or Chavez Ravine when paramedic Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death.


  1. Jamie should obviously win...the key phrase is that she has a "law degree from Maryland." Case closed.


  2. Czabe, love you man but please clean up the grammar and syntax in your post. It was a bit difficult to read. Can't you afford a copy editor since you're big-time? ;)

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  4. Jamie has a law degree from U of Maryland and MBA from M.I.T. - both schools are real proud of her career skills. Baby maker, real estate mogul and former MLB CEO or something.
    Frank is no slouch. Georgetown is in his pedigree and some other high end college with lots of fine graduates. So, in closing, LA has been fortunate to have such highly educated people run its Gold Standard organization into the ground. Stay classy, Frank and Jamie.

  5. Call it the Art Modell Owners Hall of Shame and build it next to Canton, Ohio and the good people of Cleveland will build it for free.

    In half the time if Mr. Modell agrees to be at the opening.

  6. Don't forget Bob Irsay in that Hall. Sneaking a team out in the middle of the night (via out-of-state moving trucks)--classiest owner move of the century.

    Waking up like Cindy Lou, now that sucks.

  7. you know that is a good idea and I support it, there must be a hall of fame of the Worst Professional Sports Owners In History because this guy you mention on here has been one of the worst owners and managers I have ever seen!Anyway I've gotta go read some pharmacy reviews to learn how to buy meds online