L.A. Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt Says Divorce Settlement Mediation Failed

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt, failed to reach an agreement in their divorce dispute over who will control the Major League Baseball team, a lawyer for Frank McCourt said.

Frank McCourt accepted a proposed settlement by a mediator, according to an e-mailed statement by his lawyer, Marc Seltzer. Both sides had until yesterday to accept the proposal and the mediator, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Lichtman, has declared the parties to be at impasse, Seltzer said.

“Frank fully supported the mediation process in the hopes that it would result in an agreement that would bring long- awaited closure to this matter,” Seltzer said. “We can only conclude that Jamie rejected Judge Lichtman’s settlement proposal and is allowing this matter to drag on further.”

The couple was officially divorced Oct. 26, after almost 31 years of marriage. They went to trial in September over the validity of a postnuptial agreement they signed in 2004 when they moved to Los Angeles from Boston. Jamie McCourt disputes the enforceability of the agreement that Frank McCourt says makes him the sole owner of the baseball team.

California Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon, who presided over the nonjury trial, will rule by the end of December on the validity of the postnuptial agreement.

‘Confidentiality’

“We believe that the Court ordered complete confidentiality regarding the settlement proposal and everything related to it,” Michael Kump, a lawyer for Jamie McCourt, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “We believe it would be a violation to say anything about the proposal or anything related to it.”

The $421 million acquisition of the Dodgers from Fox Entertainment Group Inc. was completed Feb. 13, 2004. The team is now worth about $727 million, according to Forbes. Jamie McCourt testified in September that it was “preposterous” that she knowingly would have given up her rights to the Dodgers in a divorce.

Frank McCourt has argued that his wife sought the property agreement because she wanted to shield the homes that were in her name from liabilities he assumed to acquire the team, including $330 million in new debt. The couple held the homes in Jamie McCourt’s name and businesses in Frank McCourt’s name before they moved to California.

The case is McCourt v. McCourt, BD514309, Los Angeles County Superior Court (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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