MLB rejects Fox deal, McCourt ownership on precipice

Major League Baseball is standing its ground against the McCourt ownership of the Dodgers, rejecting the proposed Fox television rights deal for the Dodgers and rendering Friday’s divorce settlement between Frank and Jamie McCourt void.

It would seem all signs point to MLB seizing control of the Dodgers (pending the completion of Tom Schieffer’s investigation and/or McCourt failing to make the June 30 team payroll) and McCourt suing the sport. However, the next milestone could be as soon as Thursday, the day Judge Scott Gordon of Los Angeles Superior Court was scheduled to hear arguments from Jamie McCourt’s representatives on whether to order the immediate sale of the Dodgers. The divorce settlement had rendered that hearing moot, but with the settlement itself nullified, the question now is whether that hearing will take place after all.

The fight between Frank McCourt and MLB could be long and bruising, but for you bottom-liners out there, the McCourt ownership could be in suspension by the end of next week.

Update: Molly Knight of ESPN the Magazine talked to ESPN AM 710 about the latest.

Update 2: From the updated news story …

Jamie McCourt had requested that the courts demand an immediate sale of the Dodgers. She had rescinded that request as part of the settlement. Sources tell ESPN The Magazine’s Molly Knight that she had wanted a more global settlement that did not rely on the Fox deal being approved by Selig because she is ready to move on from this nasty, nearly two year legal battle. A spokesman declined to say whether she will go back into court an request a Dodgers sale.

Update 3: “We are extremely disappointed with the Commissioner’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction which would inject $235 million into the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Steve Susman, senior partner of Susman Godfrey in a statement, waxing proudly about the dollar figure while of course ignoring the fact that there’s another $150 million up front from Fox that wouldn’t be injected into the Dodgers. Here’s the rest of his statement:

“As Commissioner Selig well knows, this transaction would make the Dodgers financially secure for the long term and one of the best capitalized teams in Major League Baseball.

“For weeks Major League Baseball has consistently made public pronouncements asserting that Jamie McCourt’s agreement of the Fox transaction also was needed; that the Court adjudicating the McCourt divorce grant its approval of the transaction; and the Dodger organization provide all data requested by Major League Baseball to satisfy the so-called investigation ordered by Commissioner Selig last April – the latter also being the excuse he gave at that time for delaying his approval of the proposed Fox transaction.

“All the requirements for the Commissioner to approve the Fox transaction were put in place by last Friday: Frank and Jamie McCourt entered into an agreement based on the proposed transaction; the Court ordered, among other things, that the Fox transaction is “in the best interest of the Los Angeles Dodgers and should be consummated immediately;” and all information requested by Major League Baseball under its so-called investigation has been provided by the Dodgers.

“Commissioner Selig’s letter of rejection is not only a disappointment, but worse, is potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball. Accordingly, we plan to explore vigorously our options and remedies with respect to Commissioner Selig’s rejection of the proposed Fox transaction and our commitment to protect the long-term best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

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