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APNewsBreak: Judge nixes Dodgers financing plan
Bennett said that once a loan agreement with the league is reached, Highbridge will be repaid for advances it made to the Dodgers under interim financing approved by the judge, and that Highbridge also will be entitled to a $250,000 termination fee.
In rejecting the Highbridge proposal, the judge noted that Dodgers executive Jeffrey Ingram had testified that, despite the acrimony between Selig and McCourt, he did not believe the league was hostile to the Dodgers.
“It is clear that Baseball needs and wants the Dodgers to succeed, and the debtors are best served by maintaining Baseball’s good will and contributing to the important and profitable franchise group under the commissioner’s leadership,” Gross wrote.
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.
“The Dodgers expect that a sale or license of exclusive cable television rights will fully resolve all of the Dodgers‘ financial challenges as well as generate value for holders of the equity interests in the debtors,” said Bennett, who plans to file a motion late next week to establish a process for marketing the media rights.
It’s unclear how the league will respond to efforts to sell the media rights as part of the bankruptcy case, but Lauria noted that the judge’s decision does not mean MLB can’t enforce its rules and regulations.
“He didn’t say we have to waive our rights,” said Lauria, who at Wednesday’s hearing accused McCourt of violating league rules by filing for bankruptcy protection and entering into the proposed financing arrangement with Highbridge without league approval.
Lauria also suggested that McCourt, battling with his ex-wife, Jamie, over ownership rights to the team and other assets, was trying to use the bankruptcy to reap benefits for himself as major shareholder of the Dodgers.
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