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McCourt Divorce Judge Rejects Fraud Claim Over Team Sale

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The ex-wife of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt failed to convince a California judge she was defrauded in accepting a $131 million divorce settlement before her husband sold the team for $2.15 billion.

Jamie McCourt failed to provide credible evidence that Frank McCourt misled her about the value of the Major League Baseball franchise in 2011 when she gave up her ownership claim to the team in exchange for $131 million and a share of the couple’s residences, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott M. Gordon said in a decision today.

“The petitioner has failed to present sufficient credible evidence to show that she did not have a full and complete understanding of the value of the assets,” Gordon said. “She is very sophisticated and familiar with the businesses.”

Six months after the couple announced their divorce settlement, Frank McCourt sold the team through a bankruptcy court auction for $2.15 billion to a group including Guggenheim Partners, its top executive, Marc Walter, and ex-basketball player Magic Johnson.

Jamie McCourt last year said she wouldn’t have agreed to the $131 million if she had known the assets were worth more than $2 billion. She claimed her ex-husband said under penalty of perjury that they had a value of less than $300 million.

The decision wasn’t unexpected, Bert Fields, a lawyer for Jamie McCourt, said in an e-mailed statement.

“I’ve said from the beginning that this case will be decided on appeal,” Fields said. “There are important issues that require appellate determination. I believe that, at the end of the day, the original judgment, which was massively unfair, will be set aside.”

Chuck Burgess, a spokesman for Frank McCourt, declined to comment on the ruling.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in the Los Angeles federal courthouse at +1- epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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