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Frank McCourt takes stand in divorce case

The Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, and his wife Jamie McCourt pose during a ceremony honoring the Dodgers with an Award of Excellence and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles Friday, June 20, 2008.

August 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Frank McCourt took the stand Tuesday in the bitter divorce dispute with his wife on how to split their assets, including ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.Frank McCourt believes a 2004 postnuptial agreement with Jamie McCourt gives him sole ownership of the team.

However, his ex-wife's attorneys said she never agreed to that, accusing Frank McCourt and his attorneys of switching the real postnuptial agreement with a fraudulent one.

"Three of them were changed, unstapled, exhibit removed and put back in," said Dennis Wasser, Jamie McCourt's attorney.

Jamie McCourt wants the Dodgers declared community property, meaning the assets would be split evenly under California law. But Frank McCourt's legal team said that shared ownership was not the intent.

"The agreement says exactly what everyone thought it said," Mr. McCourt's attorney, Steve Susman, said Monday. "The houses are Jamie's property. The Dodgers' are Frank's property, period."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon will decide if the 10-page document is valid.

"The intention of the parties, the evidence will show, was to protect - I'll call it the nest egg - the residences from the creditors, so that if the Dodgers went under or Frank's business assets went under, the family would have a nest egg," Wasser said.

At the start of the trial on Monday, the first witness was Leah Bishop, an estate planning attorney, who testified that in June 2008, she explained the agreement to the couple.

Bishop said the couple told her to draft a new version of the agreement that kept the homes in Jamie McCourt's possession but called for everything else to be shared.

"Frank said if the Dodgers are going to be community property, then everything is going to be community property," Bishop said. Frank McCourt never signed the revised paperwork.

Bishop testified Frank McCourt said Jamie McCourt was lacking in rationality, that she was not a business partner, was causing stress in the front office and believed she could run the team, which was a disconnect from reality.

Jamie McCourt served as the team's CEO, but she was fired last year after Frank McCourt accused her of having an affair and not living up to the rigors of the job.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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