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McCourt divorce drama continues for Dodgers

Frank and Jamie McCourt were in court Monday for a voluntary settlement conference over the Dodgers' future.

June 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Frank and Jamie McCourt and their lawyers were back in court Monday for a voluntary settlement conference as they try to hammer out an agreement on the future of the Dodgers.

Frank McCourt arrived at the courthouse Monday for another round of divorce settlement talks, ready to play hardball again for sole ownership of the Dodgers.

McCourt's attorneys insist he will not sell the team. But Frank's ex-wife, Jamie, says the ongoing troubles are hurting the Dodgers and their value to a potential buyer.

While the discussions drag on, Dodgers debt continues to mount. Frank McCourt has had to borrow money to meet payroll the first two months of the season. The next payroll is due Wednesday, and there's no word if McCourt will be able to meet it.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon, who is overseeing the McCourt divorce, is now asking both sides not to discuss the settlement proceedings with the media.

Frank McCourt maintains that he is the sole owner of the Dodgers despite a judge's ruling that the couple's 2004 marital property agreement was invalid.

If the couple can't reach a settlement by June 22, Judge Gordon will begin hearing arguments on Jamie McCourt's request to sell the team.

"Hopefully something will happen today, but nobody's authorized to speak to the press," said Jamie's attorney, Dennis Wasser. Asked if though the issue would be settled before the end of June, he replied, "I'm optimistic, always."

Meantime on the field, the Dodgers have a losing record and attendance has fallen dramatically. If McCourt fails to meet payroll Wednesday, Major League Baseball could force the sale of the team.

Frank McCourt says the team's problems would go away if Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig would approve a $3-billion TV contract with FOX.

Selig said he will not make a decision on the TV deal until the investigation into the team's finances is complete.

Making payroll matters worse, the team owes former Dodger Manny Ramirez $8.3 million by the end of June in deferred salary. If the McCourts can't reach a settlement Monday, they will try one more time Thursday before the hearing begins on June 22.

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