Jamie McCourt asks judge to force sale of Dodgers

LOS ANGELES – Jamie McCourt, who once testified her childhood ambition was to own a professional baseball franchise, will ask a judge to force a sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers before Major League Baseball seizes and sells the club, according to court documents obtained by Yahoo! Sports.

Jamie McCourt, pictured outside a divorce hearing in 2010, seeks immediate sale of the Dodgers.
(AP)

Her lawyers are expected to request a hearing date on the motion for relief at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Over most of four pages, Jamie McCourt accuses her ex-husband, Frank, of “not operating [the team] in the best interests of the club or the marital estate,” bringing the franchise “to the brink of financial ruin,” and “hurting the team’s good will and hard-earned reputation in this community.” She contends, “MLB is under no obligation to maximize the proceeds of such a sale,” and therefore the McCourts’ profit “stands to be grievously impaired.”

Jamie McCourt’s action, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, was termed by one Dodgers official as “nothing but another money grab.”

In the 18 months since the McCourts announced their separation, they have been unable to reach a financial settlement, contributing to the Dodgers’ economic woes. They were believed to be nearing an agreement this spring that would grant Jamie close to $200 million, which she apparently scuttled.

Meantime, commissioner Bud Selig is awaiting the results of an investigation into the team’s finances before ruling on a 17-year, near-$3 billion agreement between Frank McCourt and Fox. Baseball hopes to conclude the investigation by the end of the month, when the next payroll is due.

McCourt once told baseball officials that, without the Fox deal in place, he would not have the funds to meet his June 1 payroll. In that case, baseball would cover payroll for him, likely with the caveat he sell the team. If McCourt refuses, baseball could attempt to terminate his ownership, seize the franchise and sell it.

McCourt has maintained his intention to continue ownership of the Dodgers, then pass the franchise on to his four sons. Jamie’s request to have the court order an immediate sale of the team potentially complicates Frank’s current situation, and therefore could harm her sons’ hopes to aid their father through this tumultuous period and eventually take over the club.

Frank McCourt declined comment Wednesday night.

Tim Brown is a national baseball writer for Yahoo! Sports. He co-authored with Jim Abbott the memoir “Imperfect: an Improbable Life”.   Follow him on Twitter.   Send Tim a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Thursday, May 19, 2011