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Judge weighs Dodger bankruptcy financing
Dodgers attorneys backed up their suggestions that the league could not be trusted by submitting two letters, over objections by league attorneys, that the Dodgers say document MLB’s breach of a previous agreement giving the Dodgers‘ flexibility in its balance sheet calculations in order to enlarge its capacity for debt under league rules.
Selig’s attorneys also unsuccessfully objected to admission of an excerpt from a deposition given by MLB executive vice president of administration John McHale Jr. In the deposition, McHale recounted a telephone conversation he had with Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor relations, after McCourt approached the league shortly before the bankruptcy filing.
Manfred told McHale that McCourt asked the league for $80 million in interim financing to help the team until a broadcast deal with Fox Sports could be signed. Manfred, according to McHale, told McCourt “that he thought he should sell the club.”
The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection on June 27, blaming Major League Baseball for refusing a week earlier to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal with Fox Sports that McCourt was counting on to keep the troubled franchise afloat and meet payroll deadlines at the end of June.
Selig’s rejection of the TV deal came after he took the extraordinary step in April of assuming control of the troubled franchise and appointing a monitor to oversee its day-to-day operations, saying he was concerned about the team’s finances and how the Dodgers were being run.
Ingram testified that the Dodgers approached several potential lenders before eventually reaching an agreement with Highbridge, and they never considered asking for a loan from the league, which earlier this year had threatened to withhold a scheduled distribution from a club trust.
“We didn’t want them to be our lender,” Ingram said. “Given the adverse relationship between the parties, there was a concern it would not be a good match.”
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