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Frank McCourt pleads poverty. Relatively speaking.

Nov 25, 2009, 9:23 AM EDT

Frank McCourt — who owns a baseball team worth close to a billion dollars, multiple luxury homes and eats out at fancy schmancy restaurants seven nights a week — claims that he’s got a cash flow problem:

Mr. McCourt’s filing paints the picture of a man who, relative to
his lifestyle, is operating without much of a cash cushion. In the
filing, Mr. McCourt said his liquid assets consisted of a bank account
with less than $1.2 million.

His filing said Mr. McCourt wouldn’t see any significant income
until next year — possibly as late as March — when he expected a
quarterly payment of as much as $1.25 million from the partnership that
owns the Dodgers. He said payments from the partnership were “my only
source of personal cash flow” other than checking-account interest. Mr.
McCourt said his liquid assets recently fell as low as $167,000, after
paying about $700,000 in expenses for his wife, who filed for divorce
last month. He said the Dodgers don’t pay any of his personal expenses.

Jamie McCourt’s lawyer says that’s “baloney” and says that Frank should “be ashamed of himself” for pleading poverty like this.

I think the truth is somewhere in between. Even if you believe Jamie McCourt’s previous filings which seek to paint the couple as loaded (and her as entitled to much of that wealth) they also show severe indebtedness.  Indeed, the McCourt’s whole empire, the Dodgers included, is based on leverage, much of it tied up in homes that aren’t likely worth what they paid for them, and the bills continue to come due.

It’s exactly this sort of situation — minus the divorce, mind you — that has led to Tom Hicks’ ownership of the Rangers to near damnation. Throw in the divorce and you have Padres’ owner John Moores.

The more I see of this case, the more certain I am that the Dodgers will be sold in the not too distant future, and that until that sale comes, they’ll be cutting expenses wherever they can.

And hey, look! Higher ticket prices!

  1. Bobthis - Nov 25, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    Well here we go again. Another high profile divorce that’s already become boring and yesterdays news. Jamie McCourt has made it very clear that if she does not get full ownership of the Dodgers she will make sure Frank will have to sell his interest to pay her off. Guess who will be footing the bill? You got it. The season ticket holders. Jack Kent Cooke had to sell the Kings the Lakers and the Forum to Buss to pay off Jeanne in their divorce. Rosanne had to pay Tom Arnold, a 13th rate drug addict comic $33 million to go away. Very sad because Frank McCourt has so far been a great owner. Turn the team over to Jamie and they’ll go the same way the L.A. Rams did under Georgia. Hang in there Frank.

  2. Old Gator - Nov 25, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    And I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time this is all over and Jamie is finished with him, ole’ Frank is going to be pleading his case in treble soprano.
    Incidentally, I have searched in vain for any evidence that the tabloids have discovered this case – juicier than a fresh-killed Gallimimus in the jaws of a T-rex. It’s more of the same old same old – Jon and Kate, Levi and Bristol, Angelina and the indefatigably victimized Jen (and before you ask, no. I’m not a tabloid reader. But my culinary interests are such an intrinsic aspect of my urbane sophistication that I do my own food shopping. You know, “and don’t skimp on the pate.” You can’t avoid taking inventory of all those fecal headlines as you pass through the checkout line.)

  3. Kevin S. - Nov 25, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    I hear you on not being able to avoid those headlines. Back when I was working checkout in a wholesale club between college stints, I picked up far more gossip than I could ever care to know.
    McCourt selling the team would be a good thing if it went to Mark Cuban, who’s supposedly interested again.

  4. Old Gator - Nov 25, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    You would need Werner Heisenberg to plot the infinitesimal chances that the cyborgs who run Major League Baseball would ever allow Cuban to own a team.
    But yeah, he would be great for the game – and for L.A. in particular? Heh, throw him in among all those hardbodies and what do you want to bet that he shatters Steve Garvey’s record?

  5. Paula - Dec 8, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    Is there a way to get your own personal records out of these publicly available databases?

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