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Judge rejects Dodgers' $150M financing plan

July 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Dodgers warmed up for Friday's game with the assurance from a federal bankruptcy judge that there will be money in the bank to cover their paychecks.

It's a comfort for the players and staff, but a rejection to the $150 million bankruptcy financing plan pitched by owner Frank McCourt. The judge sided instead with McCourt's rival, ordering him to negotiate financing with Major League Baseball.

McCourt's legal team had called it a deal with the devil- a bid by MLB to seize full control of the team and force a sale. The judge dismissed that argument.

"The court finds that the baseball loan is not a vehicle for baseball to control debtors," said the judge.

"We are pleased that the court has agreed with our position with respect to providing the DIP financing and shares our long-standing view that the proposal put forth by Major League Baseball is the best option for the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise," said Rob Manfred of MLB in a statement.

Many fans side with the court.

"I think they need to stick it to him hard, honestly," said Los Angeles resident Rene Garcia.

"I would like to see them get back in financial shape and find an owner who can handle it," said fan Jim Rhoades.

McCourt has been in crisis management on many fronts. There has been a divorce battle that revealed lavish spending; the Dodgers paying for many personal bills. There is also the plunging attendance at games, made worse by the attack on Giants fan Bryan Stow.

Then the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection on June 27, blaming MLB for refusing a week earlier to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal with Fox Sports that McCourt was counting on to keep the troubled franchise afloat and meet payroll deadlines at the end of June.

In the Delaware bankruptcy court, McCourt had proposed financing with the hedge fund Highbridge Capital, which would have been more costly but would give him more control.

A statement released Friday from the Dodgers' attorney signaled that McCourt will press on no matter who finances the team.

"Both economically favorable and consistent with the Dodgers' objective of maximizing the value of the estate in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process," said the statement.

Fans just hope it will mean a better outlook for the Dodgers.

"He needs to go away from the Dodgers," said another fan. "I think it would benefit the team more when McCourt is no longer a part of the Dodgers."

McCourt and his legal team say they are optimistic they can get out of bankruptcy by the end of the year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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