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Judge rules against Frank McCourt in Dodgers bankruptcy case

Jul 22, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Frank McCourt AP

The judge in the Dodgers bankruptcy case just ruled that Frank McCourt cannot use the financing he obtained from Highbridge Principal Strategies to keep the Dodgers running during their time in bankruptcy.  Rather, he has ordered the Dodgers to negotiate with Major League Baseball in order to obtain financing from the league. You can read the order here.

Key from the court’s ruling was the judge’s belief that the terms of the Highbridge loan — which have Frank McCourt personally on the hook for over $5 million if it wasn’t used — “clearly compromised McCourt’s judgment.”  Presumably, this means that the judge believes that McCourt was unwilling to consider superior MLB financing because to do so would personally cost him money, even if it was better off for the Dodgers and their creditors.

McCourt put his own financial interests ahead of the Dodgers’?  Fancy that.

While this does not move Frank McCourt out of the owner’s chair — the judge ultimately retains authority over how money is spent during bankruptcy and specifically said in his ruling that the MLB loan could not be a vehicle via which MLB can take over the Dodgers — this is a huge win for Bud Selig and a huge loss from Frank McCourt, whose baloney is obviously not flying with this judge.

Oh, and since that Highbridge loan isn’t going to be used, McCourt just lost $5.5. million. So there’s that.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    If I had a nickel for every $5.5. mil I’ve up and lost….

    • Jeff M. - Jul 23, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      I MUST know the answer to this. . . so how many nickels would you have? :)

  2. tashkalucy - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Score one for Dodger fans!

    Frank and Jamie are sleazeballs of both the year and decade. Not even close.

    • tashkalucy - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      So, who does Frank sue next?

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        YOU for slander!!!!

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:29 PM

        Doesn’t slander/libel have to be proven wrong?

      • ThatGuy - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        Not a lawyer or anything, but I always thought Slander and Libel have to be proven that the author/speaker of it need to be shown they knew it was false, not just that it turned out to be false.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

        ThatGuy, that was my point…how would Frankie and Jimmy set about proving they aren’t sleazeballs? The evidence is pretty damning.

  3. SmackSaw - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    What a maroon! Watching McCourt get knocked around is kinda fun.

    • SmackSaw - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      McCourt…leave town tonight. You done lost your LA privileges. And when you gone, you stay gone. Or you be gone.

      • Old Gator - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:36 PM

        Get it right. McCourt, you LA priveleges have been revoked.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      SmackSaw, not to be a jackass, but “maroon” has racist connotations. And I’m not saying you’re racist or anything like that, but the use of the term (especially in the Bugs Bunny sense) wasn’t very polite.

      The same can also be said for phrases using the terminology of “Calling a spade a spade.” Somehow, knowing this country, I don’t think it originally refers to a suit of cards.

      All of that is just FYI.

      • SmackSaw - Jul 22, 2011 at 6:23 PM

        It never dawned on me that it was/is derogatory. I used it in the Bugs Bunny sense. I’m referring to McCourt as a moron. I personally have never known of anyone calling a black person (if that is the person of color you are referring to) a ‘maroon’. I always think of Maroon as a dark shade of red or as a humorous way of calling someone a moron. So, what you’re saying is, Bugs Bunny, when referring to Daffy Duck as a ‘maroon’, it had some sort of racial connotation? He also used the slur against Elmer Fudd, who was clearly Jewish. How do you construe that?

      • Lincoln93 - Jul 22, 2011 at 7:14 PM

        Actually, it’s fairly commonly accepted that Bugs was mispronouncing the word “moron” for comic effect.

        Now, you are right that “calling a spade a spade” doesn’t refer to a suit of cards. It’s a modern basterdization of a saying from either Aristotle or Plutarch (I can’t remember which) referring to a type of shovel (you know, like a spade) and it basically means to talk about something in a direct manner.

        So, yeah, you’re right about it not referring to a suit of cards. But you got the rest wrong.

        All of that is just FYI

      • cur68 - Jul 22, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        koufaxmitzvah; Appreciate the sentiment but I think I’ve been called every single anti-black person epithet there is and no one has EVER called me a ‘maroon’. The term back in the 1800’s used to be a slang for us West Indians but it really hasn’t been used for almost a hundred years. I remember Mr. B. Bunny using the term but it sure seemed to be a reference to the fact that Fudd was a ‘moron’ or possibly a ‘marron’ which is a kind of slang French term meaning a clumsy fool who thinks he’s smart. Fudd in other words. Entirely appropriate to call McCourt a ‘maroon’ no matter which way one goes. Of course I’d rather not see the original meaning of the term resurrected and am happy to let it continue evolve away from its origin. As you are doubtless aware word evolution goes some strange places. In this case the term has, I believe,evolved away from its origin and ceased to be racist and is now merely a rather polite insult. At any rate I’m going to use it as the polite insult.

      • craigbhill - Jul 23, 2011 at 2:36 AM

        You are ridiculous on both counts. I think you must be confusing maroon with octomaroon, which is like ancient Greek at this point. And calling spades spades i doubt very seriously ever referred to blacks as that whom was being “called”.

      • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        There are some forms of political correctness that do have positive social applications. But I don’t think ragging Bugs Bunny or the Greek philosophers qualifies in that regard.

  4. yankeesgameday - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Sigh.. I just can’t shake the fact that this guy came this close to being the owner if the Red Sox. Now that’s a franchise worthy of this sort of thing. Not the good ole boys in blue.

    Ahhhh, what could have been.

    • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2011 at 11:35 AM

      You have to understand that from my point of view, if Frank McCourt had bought the Beanbags we’d probably still have John Henry owning the Feesh instead of Scrooge McLoria. I’m leery about getting in bed with Borg special interests, but I think it’s fair to say that both of us would happily throw the Beanbags into the harbor in pursuit of our own nefarious rooting interests.

  5. Utley's Hair - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    “clearly compromised McCourt’s judgment.”

    Wow…if McCourt’s judgment was compromised, just imagine how skewed it was from actual good judgment.

  6. mattintoledo - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Poor bastard might have to sell his $17M laundry room.

  7. cur68 - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    A landmark day for American and California law.

    Insults do not stick to the man. Sense does not move him. Good business is a mystery to him. Losing 5.5 million of his own money through his own incompetence is exactly what he deserves. Can he be taught? Will he learn? I doubt it. He’ll jack up the price on the Dodger’s few remaining fans and try and screw them over some more to pay for his damn foolishness. Then he’ll try and sell Kemp to the highest bidder in all likelihood.

    Hopefully Selig stops him, but alas poor Buddrick, you gots your paws already full with this mess you created by letting this A$$-Clown in the door in the first place, don’t you?

    Good luck to you long suffering Dodgers fans. More crap to come I fear, but a might body blow has been struck to Frankie boy and I think we can all thank some fine American Justice this time.

    This IS schadenfreude on my part and no mistake, but McCourt deserves every schad I can freude at him, so he does. LMAO at you Frank. ROFLMAO in fact.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      That was very touching. Thank you, cur.

    • mrznyc - Jul 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      Everyone keeps saying it’s Bud’s mess for letting McCourt in the door in the first place but no one seems to be very interested in WHY Bud let him in the door. There were better buyers available yet Bud gave the nod to McCourt. It had to be in someone’s best interest to allow this for it to happen. Looks like a fix to me.

      • craigbhill - Jul 23, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        It’s the journalism journalists refuse to reveal: What happened between the time McCourt was denied the Red Sox, as a credit risk, to the time when he was gifted the Dodgers, on credit?

  8. Joe - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    That’s some pretty savvy negotiating by Frank to have that “$5 million out of my own pocket” clause in there.

    • IdahoMariner - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      I think that clause may be just the latest confirmation of McCourt’s hubris (along with buying the Dodgers in the first place to set up his personal ATM, calling the clearly superior MLB loan a “deal with the devil”, and negotiating for a loan “for the Dodgers” that puts a big ol’ pile of money in his pocket right in the middle of the MLB-oversight process) … you can almost picture him thinking “I’ll never have to pay that 5 million…who would object to this sweet deal I got for myself?”

      He either doesn’t care or really doesn’t know that his actions are so transparently self-aggrandizing.

      • tashkalucy - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        Well, I’d suspect the people that Frank was dealing with knew the sort of individual they were dealing with and put that clause in so that they weren’t left holding the bag as his other creditors are.

        Those people are out having a TGIF party tonight! All office workers invited. All drinks on Frank!

        $5.5 million dollar profit for going to meetings and signing some papers.

        Who says Frank doesn’t know how to make his partners money.

  9. dogsweat1 - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM


    • craigbhill - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      Other than it’s never stopped sucking, what about it??

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:01 PM

        Come on, man! He wants Frank to come to Brooklyn.

      • craigbhill - Jul 23, 2011 at 2:18 AM

        Dear Utley’s:

        Fine, Brooklyn can have Frank. Do not think that’s what he wants, but that’s as good as he’s going to get.

  10. dparker713 - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    That 5.5 million might just be the first of Frank McCourt’s personal funds that the Dodgers ever cost him.

    • Jeff M. - Jul 22, 2011 at 6:25 PM

      Sadly, you might be right.

  11. paperlions - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Frank doesn’t have any money…he just has other people’s money, generally called creditors. He didn’t lose $5.5M of his own money because such a thing does not exist…he just lost $5.5M of other people’s money.

    • deep64blue - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM

      That is a cracking point my friend.

    • Jeff M. - Jul 22, 2011 at 6:04 PM

      Well, sorta. Frank’s personally on the hook for that money, and not the team this time.

      If I remember correctly, Highbridge had required Frank’s exclusive Yellowstone property as collateral. I can’t seem to find a link to that story anymore, though.

      • jwbiii - Jul 22, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        Well, that would be another little can of worms. Using a piece of property whose ownership has not yet been determined by the divorce court as collateral. Interesting, and typical.

      • paperlions - Jul 22, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        ….and it is a piece of property that most certainly already has a mortgage on it, very little of which is paid off. Frank and Jaime don’t own anything, they simply have possession of things that other people bought based on their promise to pay them back….which they won’t be able to do.

  12. tashkalucy - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    As a Dodger fan, is there any way of getting pat Gillick to hold off taking a position as a franchise president until this mess is resolved?

    Perhaps Frank will realize he’s in a corner and the longer he holds out the more it costs him and Jamie. All they seem to understand is money that is not theirs.

    There are a number of financially fit people that will fight to buy the Dodgers the day they go up for sale. I’m sure many are looking into what figures are available. Surely a number of hem would love to bring Pat Gillick on as president to straighten out to operation.

    If not Pat, Gary Hunsicker might be interested.

    • craigbhill - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      tashkalucy—NO NO NO.

      Note to all: NO to outsider, non-Angelenos Pat Gillick, Gary Hunsicker AND MARK CUBAN. They do NOT have any Dodger institutional memory, they do NOT know what the fan base is about. We need one of several Los Angeleno billionaires interested in buying the Dodgers. Someone who has been going to games for decades. Someone who has had season tickets for decades and gave them up because of the McCourt stench. Someone who would not see the Dodgers as an investment, tho that they are, in line for a multi-billion $ tv deal in about a year, but someone who lives, dies and bleeds blue with the Dodgers. All those other guys need not apply.

      And all the Giants trolls and other trolls who drool over taking any of LA’s big 3, Kershaw, Kemp and Ethier, from them—NICE TRY BUT WE ARE NOT AS DUMB AS YOU LOOK.

      • tashkalucy - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        I’m a huge Dodgers fan and have lived in LA for over 25 years.

        There is no one to run the organization left. O’Malley sold years ago.

        Look, I’d love to see Mike Scioscia come home and manage the team. But structuring the organization, training a young GM, rebuilding the scouting and development staffs is going to take someone that has the background. Al Campanis is not coming back.

        Dodger baseball going back to Branch Rickey is playing strong defense to support the pitching first. It’s playing solid fundamental baseball and using speed to he team advantage. Gillick an do this. Pat and Tommy Lasorda will get along fine. Gillick is an old line baseball guy that isn’t beholden to computers. And Pat’s going into the HOF shortly.

        You’d better get used to the fact that someone with a proven track record is going to have to come in and overhaul that mess. A first time GM is going to be over his/her head.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 22, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        Good sports owners are few and far between. Mark Cuban cares about sports in general and his team in particular, so I’m all for his billionaire essence.

      • craigbhill - Jul 23, 2011 at 2:26 AM

        Who said anything about a 1st-time GM?

        Altho Logan White, who knows every Dodger in the organization better than anybody, he drafted them, would be a 1st-time GM, and what would be wrong with him? I completely disagree with you regarding the relative worth of a 1st-timer. You know what a GM needs to succeed? A deep-pocketed new owner.

        Scioscia, also, is not in the cards. Gillick, if you look into his background, is not a Dodger kinda guy.

        I find your thinking really odd.

        1st off, us talking about it is not going to make it happen. I am not so much interested or worried about the ID of the next GM. I am very interested in the ID of the next owner, who will hire that GM.

      • Jeff M. - Jul 23, 2011 at 4:06 PM

        Logan White would be a *great* GM. And if we only had an owner that would give him some payroll headroom!

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