McCourt digs in heels on parking lots

Bad, bad news. From Bill Shaikin of the Times:

Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre have withdrawn a joint bid to buy the Dodgers, three people familiar with the sale process said Thursday.

Caruso cited owner Frank McCourt’s refusal to include the Dodger Stadium parking lots in the sale, according to the people, who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the sale process.

Caruso could reenter the bidding if McCourt were to agree to sell the parking lots, the people said. McCourt has told people he has at least one bid in which the buyer would let him retain ownership of the parking lots. …

It’s extremely disappointing, though perhaps to be expected, that someone is willing to make a deal with the figurative devil in this case. This is the strongest indication yet that Dodger fans will not be free of McCourt.

“The history of the L.A. Dodgers began with people who didn’t want to move out of the parking lots. And it continues,” comments Bob Timmermann.

  • http://twitter.com/dpwtv David Weiner

    This makes me sad

  • Anonymous

    The history of the L.A. Dodgers began with people who didn’t want to move out of the parking lots. And it continues.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Wow, I wish I had thought of that line.

  • http://twitter.com/maddzGoesRAWR Madeleine Clarke

    I wonder if there were any way to make a sizeable boycott of the parking lots if McCourt holds on to them. I would consider public transportation to games if that were the case. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/George.L.Wasserman George Wasserman

    Well, here’s to $50 parking

    • Anonymous

      I could see this guy charging people to walk across his property :(

    • Anonymous

       McCourt won’t run the parking lots – he leases them to the Dodgers. For the first 5 years at a price already set with MLB – which certainly means the Dodgers can’t lower the cost to park. After 5 years, if he still owns the lots, he can raise the lease bill substantially; that’s when the cost of parking would go up a lot.

      • Anonymous

        Actually, he is trying to retain development rights to the parking lots…he can build a paid maze to the entrances and call it a fun house if he gets his way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/George.L.Wasserman George Wasserman

    While such a possibility would be fantastic, the traffic makes it unlikely.  I do believe people could carpool more… especially during the summer there will be lots of parking around USC

  • Anonymous

    I can only imagine that if people are considering buying the team without the parking lots that they are also considering options for a new stadium.  At least I’d hope that was the case

  • Anonymous

    Has anybody heard of any inside information for why Braun had his suspension revoked?  There must of been some unusual circumstances for it to be the first one, but I haven’t seen anywhere what those unusual circumstances might be.

    • http://twitter.com/maddzGoesRAWR Madeleine Clarke

      According to the twitter, it looks like the testing lab held onto the sample for longer than was appropriate/allowed. Who know what that means. 

    • Anonymous

      ESPN article says that Braun argued chain of custody/collection issue.  Basically, the sample was supposed to be transported immediately, but the collector thought the FedEx office was closed so he took it home and refrigerated it over night.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         Standard “Law & Order” plot device.

        • Anonymous

          Well that won’t restore his good name as he says.  I guess he gets to play without being suspended, but nobody is going to believe that he didn’t actually cheat the system.  How would his future awards and hall of fame status be affected by being exonerated, but not for the reason that he didn’t dope.

          • Anonymous

            It should exonerate him, that is how are system is supposed to work.

          • Anonymous

            Barry Bonds has never been found guilty of doping, but does that mean the voters for the hall of fame will treat him as a non-doper.  No way.  He would be an absolute shoe-in for first ballot election if he were truly innocent until proven guilty.

          • Anonymous

            Bonds, of course, has actually been convicted of a steroids-related charge.

  • Anonymous

    Boycotting the parking lots doesn’t help the new owners, McCourt has a lease that pays him $14M a year regardless.

    • Jack Dawkins

      I imagine that the $14 mil does not include the staff to direct cars either.  Or to provide security in them to prevent another opening day episode.

      • Anonymous

        Probably not but even it did, not parking there only hurts the new owners and not McCourt

    • Anonymous

      Does that mean $14M from the owner plus $15 each for the cars? I mean, who charges for parking, the owner or McCourt? If I’ve figured this right and the new owner collects the money, he only needs about 17 thousand cars per game to break even at $10 per car or less than 12,000 cars at $15 per car, ignoring labor cost. I think I’d look into a sliding scale depending on how many people in the car. A couple of extra admission tickets should help subsidize a $5 discount on parking.

      • Anonymous

        It’s a lease agreement, the team leases the property from the entity.  The lease is for $14M a year.

        If you leased a property for a set amount and you act under the lease to generate income, the person who owns the property doesn’t care if you charge 5 dollars or 15 dollars, he’s got his money.

        Now, the lease could also cover the personnel but it might not.  Again, this was all previously agreed to between MLB and McCourt/Dodgers.

        The new owners could charge less for parking but that isn’t going affect what they McCourt for the lease.

  • http://twitter.com/thepageisblank Chris Blue

    What happens if MLB rejects the bidder who offered to buy w/o the parking lots included?

    • Anonymous

      Frank can go to arbitration (if that is sole reason) and since MLB had already agreed Frank did not have to sell the parking lots, MLB would probably have to allow that buyer back in.

      MLB gave Frank a lot of rights to get him out.  

      • http://twitter.com/thepageisblank Chris Blue

        I guess it depends on if they can find another reason to reject him.  If Frank ONLY submits that owner for approval based off him wanting to keep the lots, can’t they reject it for not giving them options?  From my understanding, he can go to an arbitrator if they are proving to be unreasonable but I would think the same would be true for MLB if they only get one proposed owner.

        • Anonymous

          Once it gets to Frank approving the owner, MLB has to sign off, in fact the owners they can present to him are ones that they have already approved.

          • http://twitter.com/thepageisblank Chris Blue

            My understanding is that after this round of cuts, he has to submit a list of owners for approval.  In theory, if he only submits one owner (that being the one who did NOT bid on the lots), they still have the right to reject that owner if they don’t find him worthy.

          • Anonymous

            It’s the other way around, McCourt is working with his investment banker but they pass the list to MLB for final vetting then they send back the approved owners.  In theory, the ones left could only be ones who want the lots but McCourt gets to have final negotiations with them so that could change. 

            All I am trying to say is that it would be very difficult for MLB to insist that one, the remaining owners just bid for all of McCourt properties and once they approve the final set owners, to reject any buyer if he buys the team without the parking lots.

  • Anonymous

    I think the parking lots should be sold to Donald Shoup and he’ll come up with a solution.

  • http://www.onlytwopeople.com/blog Matt Worland

    Why? Just be gone, please! I really hope the winning bid pays extra for the lots just to get rid of McCourt for good, though that prospect is looking less and less likely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713935344 Jason Ungar

    Well just cause McCourt says something does not mean it’s true. Lot’s of proof to back me up on that one!!! I hope they all realize to stick together and not cave in and make him give up the lots or as KG16 says, buy the team and destroy the stadium and build a new awesome one someplace.

     

    • Anonymous

      Someone will want the team more than that property.  

    • Jack Dawkins

      Moving the stadium would probably help out Frank, as then the lot is worth a lot more than $14 mil a year cause you can develop it.

      • Anonymous

        develop it to what purpose?  Real Estate ain’t as hot as it was a few years ago.  I highly doubt someone is going to give a McCourt backed company a loan to build condo towers or office/retail space there (or anywhere, for that matter)

    • Anonymous

      Building a new baseball stadium in Los Angeles would something akin to driving on the 405 when there are three lanes closed multiplied by a land war in Asia raised to the power of building a moon base to shoot giant lasers at watermelons.

      • Anonymous

        Never fight a land war through Asia!

        • Benjamin Strom

          Never get involved in a land war in Asia - 
          Vizzini

  • Anonymous

    Actually, just out of curiosity, is whatever entity McCourt created to hold the stadium part of the BK case?  IIRC, they broke everything up into related entities to pay each other rent and fees and whatnot, right?

    • Anonymous

      No, that is why the Bankruptcy Court has no jurisdiction over it.  And that was probably why MLB could not force Frank to include it in the sale proposal.

      • Anonymous

        I thought they had the team in one entity, the stadium in another, and the parking lots in yet another (and probably a few more)

        • Anonymous

          Even though they were all purchased together?

          • Anonymous

            doesn’t matter that they were all purchased together.  It’s not that difficult, legally-speaking, to break assets into multiple businesses.  That’s one of the dirty secrets everyone knows in pro sports… the team doesn’t necessarily own the stadium they play in; it’s owned by another company the team owner has, and the team pay rent to the second business.

  • Anonymous

    Sad to think that this might be the beginning of the end of Dodger Stadium.  I can see a potential billionaire owner looking for a new stadium site. 

    • Anonymous

      Can’t see it, look how long it takes to get an EIR done, plus the costs, the local government isn’t going to kick in.  And regardless, they would probably have to play in Dodger Stadium for another 2-3 years at least if not longer.

      • Anonymous

        They broke ground on Marlins Park in July 2009, and it’s taken them until this year to be ready to go, so you could figure 3-4 years.

        Then again, if the NFL tells AIG that Farmer’s Field is nice and all, but that no team is moving to LA and no expansion is going to happen, then I could see that stadium getting reworked.

        • Anonymous

          It took four years for Dodger Stadium to get built. And O’Malley had to have a lot of things break his way just to get that done. The L.A. City Council would be very unlikely to approve any new stadium site for a team that already has a pretty good place to play.

          The City Council wants Farmers Field to be built and they are having trouble doing that. But where can the Dodgers go to hold the City Council hostage for help in getting a stadium? 

          If you paid 10 figures for a baseball team are you going to threaten to take it to Long Beach and play at Blair Field?

          • Anonymous

            I played one game at Blair Field :)

          • Anonymous

            Big League Dreams in West Covina is a nice complex.

  • Anonymous

    Arrggh, bad, bad news.  I hate to think that any of my money would go to McCourt when I go to Dodger Stadium.  I can only hope that someone convinces him to sell the parking lots.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Hitchcock/1676059435 Jim Hitchcock

    Just ordered my tickets for Camelback:

             Sec  Row Seat
    18th   114     6      9

    20th    14      5      5
     
    21st     16     5      3

    Looks like I’ll only have leg room for the Angels’ game :)

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    While I wouldn’t be heartbroken about the Torre group dropping out, they do raise an important sticking point. Whatever happens, I hope the parking lots issue doesn’t lead to a bad situation, or a prolonged battle. We all deserve better than that. 

    Can’t McCourt pave another paradise and put up a parking lot, elsewhere? Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.

    • Anonymous

      Seems like a sweet deal, get a nice fee, don’t have to do anything and I know you have a nice asset to sell when you want.  

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        So when will be the right time to sell in his estimation? 

        Won’t he want to sever ties to LA anyway? I mean presumably land like that gets more and more valuable over time but will it increase fast enough for it to be worth whatever hassles he has to deal with in maintaining it? And he’ll be responsible for security and safety, too (see: Stow case), which may not be his… forte. Anyway, curious.

        • Anonymous

          That’s interesting, I have not seen the complaint in the Stow case to see if it named the parking lot entity as a party.  (I would guess that the lease agreement indemnifies that party anyway since the Dodgers would be ones who would be responsible for security, insurance and the like) 

    • http://web.me.com/kakitadoug/geekblog/Blog/Blog.html DougS

      I was wondering how long it would take for someone to point out the bright side of this story. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    I’m beginning to hate McCourt as much as I hate Hitler.

    • Anonymous

      Godwin’s Law is in effect. It’s somewhat similar to Lawler’s Law.

      • Anonymous

        My apologies for comparing McCourt to Hitler. He just makes me so angry. What can’t McCourt go away?

        • http://web.me.com/kakitadoug/geekblog/Blog/Blog.html DougS

          I can’t stand the man, either. But realistically, you can’t expect him to just roll over and die. It’s in his interests to try to hang onto a valuable piece of real estate, if he can manage it.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Come on …

      • Anonymous

        I’m sorry, Jon. It won’t happen again.

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

          No, I know – I just mean, let’s be real here.

          • Anonymous

            I understand.

          • http://www.trolleydodger.com/ Robert Daeley

             To be fair, appeasement is an unwise strategy when confronting either one of them. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Does this situation exist somewhere else, where one private party owns the stadium and another private party owns the land?

  • Anonymous

    One thing that is getting clearer to me, MLB was really worried about McCourt challenging the best interest in baseball clause in Federal Court.  Because they never really pulled that card.  Look they were winning all the hearings in Bankruptcy Court, Frank was heading to having to sell the team.  But then gave Frank final approval plus he didn’t have to sell all of his baseball-related holdings.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Frank won.

    • Anonymous

       Right.

  • Anonymous

    Well there goes the credability of the MLB drug testing policy.  To install another level to determine guilt or innocence put Braun in the driver’s seat.  I will never believe a drug from them again as it is fixed.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       I’d say this ruling does the opposite.  It puts the pressure on MLB to make sure they follow procedure so that their drug testing is more credible.  This is what’s supposed to happen when procedures aren’t followed.

      • Anonymous

        That would be correct if the commish were an honorable man and this was not fixed but it is.

  • Anonymous

    McCourt is just flexing his muscle to get more money.  Torre et al saw the number signs on the wall and balked I guess.  If the price is right, McCourt will sell, but he’s hinting that the price isn’t right yet.

  • Anonymous

    I hope there’s a bright light at the end of this tunnel. But, it doesn’t seem like it’s getting any brighter.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    Point of clarification before I stick my foot in my mouth again: we are talking about the land surrounding the stadium but not the stadium itself? In other words the eventual owner will own our beloved franchise and venerable DS but not the land on which it sits? Is that correct?

    • Anonymous

      I believe so.

  • Anonymous

    I think the Bryan Stow Lawsuit could influence the parking lot deal a lot. They can sue McCourt directly because he is sole owner of the parking lots. I know his lawyers aren’t going to give the Dodgers or anyone else a free ride because of the deep pockets rule, but I think the lawsuit threat could be used to put a little pressure on McCourt to sell the lots.

  • Anonymous

    Farmers Field actually makes a whole lot more sense as a baseball stadium than it does as a football stadium.  80 nights of pedestrian life surrounding LA Live instead of 8, and bars and restaurants surrounding the complex to host fans in the evening and late night. Petco Park has this going for it, even if the team that plays there stinks.

    Then, if we could just get the landmarks commission to designate Dodger Stadium a landmark, then McCourt wouldn’t be able to develop anything other than the parking lots.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2ZCVH7IZKNYWLHQKLTMI555XR4 Pleepleus

    If McCourt retains ownership of the Dodger Stadium parking lots, I’ll sooner walk to the stadium from North Hollywood than pay the carpetbagger a penny.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe anyone would allow McCourt to keep contol of the parking lots. It would probably be more logical to dismantle the franchise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scareduck Rob McMillin

    I disagree, Jon. Oddly enough, I think this is the beginning of a net positive trend for the Dodgers. McCourt has run down the clock before he has sold the team, another bidder is out (one, by the way, with no small sentimental value to the local market), and I cannot imagine the higher bids are going to accept not buying the parking lots. Maybe I’m hallucinating, but I tend to think McCourt is painting himself into a corner here.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I think you’re hallucinating a bit. What corner is McCourt in? He’s still got nine bidders left, including the multi-billionaires.   It only takes one bidder that’s willing to work with him on the parking lots – Rams owner Stan Kroenke, for example – and McCourt gets over a billion dollars plus the right to develop the land.  I’m hoping it doesn’t turn out that way, but unless he flat out doesn’t have the money, Caruso doesn’t drop out if he thinks the entire land is in play. At best, this is neutral news, but I definitely don’t see it as good news.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=201003858 Garrett Michael McCain

    If McCourt hangs on to any Dodger-related entities, I’ll never step foot in Dodger Stadium again…ever.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the parking lots aren’t for the paltry 14M a year. :) It’s to control the majority of the land for the day when he can build on it.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like my hope of complete disassociation from all things McCourt is in serious danger.  MLB should have taken the fight to completely excise this cancer all the way instead of compromising to our current situation.

  • Anonymous

    I’m afraid everyone is taking the same myopic view of this story and missing the silver lining. Caruso’s backing out seems a clear indicator that he had intentions (despite public assurances to the contrary) of razing the Ravine in favor of luxury homes, and moving the team into a soulless new downtown stadium.

    I’d rather have McCourt own the parking lots than have Caruso move the team out of Dodger Stadium.