Photo: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America
Oh the irony of this picture...
A movie called War of the Roses came out in 1989, it was a play-off of the War of the Roses civil disputes that happened in England throughout the late 1400's. However, the civil "Rose" disturbances were super small potatoes compared to the McCourt drama unfolding before us today. A divorce for the decades, and one for the history books, Los Angeles Dodgers never saw a battle such as this, not even with the San Francisco Giants in town.
Frank and Jamie McCourt, met as freshman at Georgetown, and it was instant attraction. The two were married in 1979. A true power couple, she a successful Boston corporate attorney, and he a brilliant real estate developer, the two were destined for wealth and riches. The couple eventually merged their creative talents, and Jamie became the Vice President of her husband's company, The McCourt Co.
Not coming as any surprise, the intelligent minds running the The McCourt Co. aided to a flourishing company, and soon a lucrative business expanded widely throughout the Boston area. It was only a matter of time before the McCourts moved the family, and their business to west coast to flourish in the California gold mines.
Baseball and sports ownership have always been a part of the McCourt family linage. Frank's grandfather was part owner of the then Boston Braves. Purchasing a franchise would be the next step to fulfilling the McCourt family legacy. The McCourt's put in two unsuccessful bids to purchase The Boston Red Sox and the Anaheim Angels. One team however was interested in McCourt's offer... the LA Dodgers. In 2004, Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers for $430 million dollars from Rupert Murdoch. The $430 million dollar price tag was financed almost entirely through debt. To increase equity, the McCourts began selling property off to pay off the damage. In the real estate deal of the century, Frank McCourt sold one of his Boston parking lot properties for $200 million dollars. In addition, and to the dismay of Dodger fans everywhere, The McCourts raised ticket prices to pay off further debts. Frank, the sole owner of the Dodgers organization had just one business partner, his wife Jamie. Jamie McCourt's title, Dodgers CEO.
You'll remember the message buried into the scripts of War of the Roses... perfection is perceived through fecal eyes. Five years after the McCourt's MLB purchase, rumors began circulating that Jamie McCourt was having an affair with her bodyguard. In response to the allegations, Frank fired his wife from the Dodgers and filed for divorce, thus the civil war ignites.
Equitable division of assets. Legally, all assets purchased throughout the duration of a marriage are divided up equally by both parties. Anything purchased prior to the marriage retains sole ownership. So where does that leave The Dodgers? According to Jamie McCourt, the Dodgers are 50% hers. Frank McCourt is claiming he's the sole owner of the MLB organization. His case to the courts is that her unfaithfulness in their marriage broke their marital agreement, thus dissolving any legal claim she has over the team.
In the couples first hearing earlier this week Jamie McCourt's attorney asked that Frank be forced to pay Jamie $1 million a month in temporary spousal support. Frank McCourt offered his estranged wife just a fraction of that, $150,000 per month. To put this simply, if Jamie's request is granted, Frank would have to borrow money in order to pay for Jamie's lavish lifestyle. Rumors of Jamie McCourt's absurd spending began running wild. One of the most ridiculous are the residences she uses simply for laundry and entertaining.
While maintaining she's still the team's co-owner, it will be another 90 days before a trial is set. The court will then examine the validity of the McCourt marriage, and rightful ownership within the Dodgers organization.
This is truly sad. It's amazing what greed can do to the human soul. We are only weeks away from Dodgers season opener. In this real-life dramatic saga, we'll see what happens to a family deep in controversy, infidelity, ownership, and greed.