Frank McCourt on MLB's Takeover of the L.A. Dodgers
We made Major League Baseball aware of the team's capital needs a year ago, so it was an absolute shock when Commissioner [Bud] Selig stepped in. It's not warranted: Our debt load is under control. The team is not in financial duress. We're current on all of our payments and obligations. We're in compliance with all the rules.
When I purchased the team in 2004, I knew there was the opportunity to do a media deal. There's now a TV deal between the Dodgers and Fox (NWS): It's a multibillion-dollar transaction that will infuse nearly $300 million of equity into the team immediately. We presented four revisions of this deal to Major League Baseball. I borrowed $30 million because we've been waiting on the commissioner's approval. Commissioner Selig has to decide whether he's going to approve the Fox deal or put the team at risk financially.
I'm not here to back down. Notwithstanding the heat, the white heat, I'm committed to stay the course. There are ups and downs in the life cycle of any organization. One of the core values of this country is the protection of people's private property. I'm definitely going to protect my rights.
My divorce [from ex-Dodgers Chief Executive Officer Jamie McCourt] shouldn't be a factor. We filed reams of documents, and one outlined money that was available to me and my former wife over a seven-year period. There was a salary paid to her of $2 million a year and a distribution to me of $5 million a year. Is that a lot of money? You bet it is. On the other hand, I have a huge amount of equity invested in the business. I work very, very hard. Is the money too much? Maybe. I did get carried away a little bit, but nothing I did jeopardized the Dodgers.
I have a much better recognition now that lifestyle decisions get magnified. I should have been more sensitive. I've invested the bulk of my life savings in this business, but it's also a civic asset. I'm committed to making sure the best days of the Dodgers are ahead.