Blackstone’s Cohen Must Answer Queries in McCourt DivorceChris Dolmetsch
A Blackstone Group LP senior managing director was ordered to answer written questions in litigation over a divorce settlement between former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife Jamie McCourt.
Jamie McCourt last week filed a third petition in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan seeking an order requiring Blackstone Advisory Partners LP and the executive, Peter Cohen, to sit for depositions in the case. Justice Jeffrey K. Oing in Manhattan today ordered Cohen to respond to no more than 25 written inquiries by March 29.
“I don’t want a fourth one coming in while I’m on vacation,” Oing said during a hearing. “Enough is enough and I want to get everyone off the merry-go-round.”
Jamie McCourt in September filed a request in California state court in Los Angeles claiming her $131 million divorce settlement, reached about eight months earlier, was based on fraud and should be set aside.
Jamie McCourt says her former husband claimed the value of his assets were less than $300 million, while the $2.15 billion sale of the Dodgers in March 2012 left him with $1.7 billion. She wants to question Cohen and Blackstone, who advised the Dodgers on the sale, to learn more about “the extent of information Frank knew about the market value of the Dodger assets and when he knew it.”
Cohen told Forbes Magazine that the $2.15 billion purchase price for the Dodgers wasn’t “more than he anticipated on day one,” according to the petition.
“At his deposition, Frank denied that Cohen gave him information as to the likely or possible value or price or bids that he could expect or obtain for the Dodger assets,” Jamie McCourt said in the petition. “Upon information and belief such statements were not correct or accurate.
‘‘By reason of the foregoing, the testimony of Cohen and Blackstone are clearly pertinent and relevant in order to determine the truthfulness of Frank’s denials and the information that was or made available to him at the time.’’
The California court has granted permission to take the depositions of Blackstone and Cohen, yet Cohen isn’t a resident of the state and can’t be subpoenaed to appear at an evidentiary hearing scheduled for April 15 to set aside the settlement, according to the petition.
Testimony taken from Cohen in New York can be used at the evidentiary hearing, Jamie McCourt’s lawyers said in the petition.
Oing in January blocked subpoenas against Blackstone and Cohen, saying they were premature. Peter Rose, a spokesman for Blackstone, declined to comment on today’s order in an e-mail.
The case is In the matter of the application of Jamie McCourt, 651046/2013, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan.)