Major league baseball – fresh on the heels of the divorce of the owner of the San Diego Padres – is once again in play in a California divorce court. Frank McCourt, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner, and his wife, Jamie McCourt, formerly the team’s CEO, are divorcing. The McCourts have been married since 1979 and have an estimated net worth of $1.29 billion, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.
The McCourts purchased controlling interest in the Dodgers on Jan. 29, 2004 for $430 million (the team is valued at $722 million). Frank McCourt reportedly financed more than half the amount he invested when he bought the team from FOX Entertainment Inc. Jamie McCourt became the team’s CEO on March 17, 2009 and was reportedly relieved of her post by her husband this week. Prior to becoming CEO, she was club president since Aug. 12, 2005.
Frank McCourt’s attorney, Marshall Grossman, says his client has documents that back up the claim that Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Dodgers. “Frank McCourt is the owner of the team. He has always been the owner of the team,” Grossman told the Los Angeles Times. Jamie McCourt’s divorce attorney, Dennis Wasser, believes otherwise. “Everything I’ve seen leads me to believe it’s 50-50, whether there’s a document or not,” Wasser commented. (Dennis Wasser is a longtime L.A. divorce lawyer whose clients include Tom Cruise. His daughter and law partner is Laura Wasser, who most recently represented Britney Spears in her divorce and custody matters.)
Community property laws in California would give Jamie McCourt a 50 percent share of the McCourt’s share of the Dodgers and any of her husband’s other assets acquired post-marriage – unless there is an agreement which indicates otherwise. It is not known whether a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement exists between Frank and Jamie McCourt, who were college sweethearts.
In addition to the baseball franchise, the McCourts also own four pieces of pricey Southern California real estate – two properties in Holmby Hills and two in Malibu. These properties are reportedly valued at about $80 million. Public records indicate that Jamie McCourt is the sole titleholder to those properties and that Frank McCourt has waived any claim to them.