Ex-wife wants Dodger divorce settlement tossed
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Los Angeles Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt isn’t entitled to the more than $131 million she received in a divorce settlement because she agreed to the terms and her most recent claims aren’t credible, an attorney for her ex-husband argued Wednesday in court.
Jamie McCourt wants the agreement thrown out because she believes she was misled about the value of the Dodgers that was later sold for $2 billion.
But Robert Sacks, a lawyer for former Dodger owner Frank McCourt, said his client’s ex-wife was provided the team’s financial documents prior to the settlement being reached in October 2011.
“There is not a scintilla of evidence to support Jamie’s ever-changing claims,” Sacks said during closing arguments of a non-jury trial. “It lacks credibility.”
Jamie McCourt said her ex-husband committed fraud by misrepresenting the Dodger assets as worth less than $300 million during their divorce and he knew all along what the true value was but didn’t tell her. Her attorneys believe she was short-changed roughly $770 million.
She received $131 million tax-free and several luxurious homes.
Frank McCourt’s attorneys said Jamie McCourt failed to do her due diligence.
In court documents filed early in the divorce case, Jamie McCourt did estimate the value of the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots at $2 billion.
Jamie McCourt’s attorney, Bert Fields, said his client relied on the latest figures provided to her and said the amount for a future regional sports network — potentially worth more than $1 billion — was never reflected in documents she saw.
“I think we’ve demonstrated flat-out non-compliance,” by Frank McCourt, Fields said.
Sacks said details about a future network were revealed but it wasn’t listed as an asset because it didn’t yet exist. He added Jamie McCourt could have chosen not to agree to the settlement but opted to go ahead.
“It’s consistent with her risk-averse approach,” Sacks said. “She took certainty. Frank took risk.”
In testimony last week, Jamie McCourt said she was under the impression that she and her former husband were splitting the assets evenly.
“I was surprised I could have made such a huge mistake,” she said.
The former couple’s marriage was dissolved in October 2010, and less than a year later the Dodgers went into bankruptcy. McCourt’s financial future was in question at the time, but the Dodgers’ sale made him rich again.
Frank McCourt did not testify during the trial, but one of his attorneys took the stand and said the former baseball owner has paid more than $460 million in state and federal taxes relating to the sale of the Dodgers.
If Judge Scott Gordon tosses out the divorce settlement, then they could resume arguments over whether the Dodgers are community property under California law or whether Frank McCourt owned the team outright. Gordon previously ruled that a post-marital agreement giving Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers was invalid.
A ruling isn’t expected until summer.