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APNewsBreak: Ex-Dodger owners back in family court
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The ex-wife of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has filed a motion to set aside the couple’s divorce settlement, claiming he committed fraud by vastly understating the team’s value.
Jamie McCourt’s attorney, Bertram Fields, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she “thought very long and very hard about whether to file this motion” but after other means failed she was forced to return to court over the value of the team that sold for $2 billion in May.
“Mr. McCourt got about 93 percent of the family assets, and Mrs. McCourt got about 7 percent,” Fields said in a phone interview. “We would’ve much preferred to have this massive imbalance resolved with some modification, but we got no response to that approach. We didn’t want to have more family litigation, but now it’s up to the court.”
The pair’s marriage was dissolved in October 2010, and Jamie McCourt received $131 million. The new court papers claim that after the sale and subtraction of relevant debts, Frank McCourt’s assets turned out to be worth $1.7 billion, well over 10 times the amount Jamie McCourt received.
The motion says that even if Frank McCourt’s figures were the result of mistakes rather than fraud, the settlement should be tossed out on the basis of the errors.
An email message seeking comment was sent to Ryan Kirkpatrick, an attorney for Frank McCourt, late Tuesday.
The Dodgers went into bankruptcy protection in June 2011, but Frank McCourt eventually sold the team in May of this year to a group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson for $2 billion, the highest figure ever paid for a pro sports franchise.
The group has vowed to restore dignity to the storied franchise after the era of McCourt, who is widely reviled by Dodgers fans for his seemingly profligate lifestyle at the club’s expense after he bought the team from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for $430 million in 2004.
In bankruptcy filings, attorneys for Major League Baseball said Frank McCourt looted more than $180 million in revenue from the club for personal use and other business unrelated to the team.
Divorce documents laid out the couple’s expensive tastes, including the purchase of several homes, trips on chartered jets, country club memberships and even a six-figure, on-call hair stylist.
A hearing on the motion to set aside the divorce settlement has been scheduled for Nov. 16.
By David Keene
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