Eliminated from the National League Championship Series a night earlier the Los Angeles Dodgers began their offseason Thursday by firing the owner's wife.
As a result, Jamie McCourt, who is married to owner Frank McCourt and was the team's CEO, has promised a lawsuit, according to a statement by her Los Angeles-based attorney, Dennis Wasser. The couple is separated and apparently headed toward divorce, potentially casting the iconic franchise into economic and structural disarray.
"Jamie was disappointed and saddened by her termination," said Wasser, reading from a statement. "As a co-owner of the Dodgers, she will address this and all other issues in the courtroom."
Asked if a lawsuit had been filed, Wasser said, "Not yet, but there will be litigation pending."
As to whether this would be part of a divorce filing, he said, "Let's say this, you'll know next week."
Jamie, married to Frank since 1979, ascended rapidly through the team's hierarchy, becoming vice chairman in 2004 (two weeks after Frank – or Frank and Jamie, a detail that apparently will be determined by the courts – purchased the club from Fox), president in 2005 and CEO seven months ago.
Since confirming their marital separation a week ago, the couple's lawyers have argued publicly about whether Frank is the sole owner of the team or Jamie is a co-owner. Frank's lawyer, Marshall Grossman, has said his client has documentation signed by both parties that support Frank's contention.
Grossman called the news of Jamie's firing, first reported by SI.com, "a Dodgers personnel issue," adding, "The Dodgers do not comment on personnel matters."
Just Wednesday the club announced general manager Ned Colletti had received a contract extension and last month it announced communications chief Charles Steinberg had been granted permission to seek employment elsewhere.
Frank and Jamie (and their lawyers) shared the owner's box at Dodger Stadium during NLCS games late last week, Frank in the third row and Jamie in the first. At one point engaging before a near-full ballpark, Frank playfully grabbed Jamie's head, causing her to recoil in apparent anger.
Still, Grossman contended the couple was not yet going through a divorce, though it has been widely reported – and assumed – otherwise.
"There has been no litigation filed by either Mr. or Mrs. McCourt," he said.
Forbes magazine estimated in April that the Dodgers were worth more than $700 million.
- Jamie McCourt
- Frank McCourt