Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers, The Pillsbury Doughboy and Money

For those of you who do not live in Southern California, or do not follow baseball closely, you may not be aware that a big time scandal is breaking bigger than the waves off Southern California's Dana Point.

It involves a young man, an older woman, an older man, and a billion dollars.

I'm sure there is some way to turn an economic angle on this, but forget that, just sit back and enjoy the tale. There's probably a moral or two in this story also, but I will let you work that out for yourself . This is just a story.

The story starts some years ago when a very wealthy couple residing in Boston, Massachusetts decided to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course, they headed west to manage the team. The couple, Frank and Jamie McCourt, as they headed west, had been married some twenty years plus.

They made a splash in Los Angeles, always in demand to give speeches. I heard Frank once give a speech to a group of investment bankers. In the close to his speech, his voice rising, he promised to make the Dodgers profitable. The IB's cheered loudly. Why I thought are these IB's cheering? The Dodgers are privately held, who the hell cares, other than Frank McCourt if they make money? And I guessed, he probably didn't close his speech like this around fans or sports writers.

I also once heard Jamie speak. I came away thinking the speech was written by a mediocre speech writer. I was not impressed with her delivery of the speech either, but I do remember that she did neg her husband a bit in the speech, something about him always worrying. She also did mention that she dropped her international law career to become a family (I think) lawyer at the insistence of that worrier Frank, who did not want her travelling unchaperoned to exotic locales. She did say that when they learned the Dodgers were available for purchase she blurted out, "We'll buy them," and then left it up to Frank, the worrier, to figure how exactly to raise the money to make the purchase.

Somewhere along the line Frank made Jamie CEO and Vice Chairperson of the Dodgers, and then, just recently, as the Dodgers struggled without success to make it to the Worlds Series, we have all learned that Frank has fired Jamie as as CEO and Vice Chairperson. Frank wrote.

Dear Jamie -- This is to inform you that your employment with and positions as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairperson of Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, as well as any and all of the positions that you hold ... are hereby terminated effective immediately."...

Because your employment is held at-will, the Organization is not required to have cause to terminate your employment and may do so for any reason or no reason at all.

However, your actions, including, but not limited to, your insubordination, non-responsiveness, failure to follow procedures, and inappropriate behavior with regard to a direct subordinate, have made this decision necessary.

Although Frank had the locks changed at her office, they both attended Dodger playoff games within scent of each other.

Both with empty stares, as if wondering what had happened.

It turns out that what had happened was the Pillsbury Doughboy. Frank, the worrier, did have something to worry about after all.

Yes, Jamie appears to have found a new man, Jeff Fuller. But not just any Fuller, but the Jeff Fuller whose late mother was an heir to the Pillsbury fortune. In other words, Jeff has never ever had to worry about much.

Oh yes, he was also employed by the Dodgers and was fired, the week after Jamie, from his position as Dodger Director of Protocol.

Naturally, no drama like this can be complete without a 911 call, so there is one.

TMZ tells the story this way:
Frank McCourt -- owner of the L.A. Dodgers -- scared his estranged wife Jamie so badly she called 911, this according to law enforcement sources.

It happened Sept. 5 2009, at 10:10 in the morning. We're told Jamie was swimming in the pool of her Holmby Hills home when Frank suddenly and unexpectedly appeared. Jamie called 911, explaining that she was frightened because of previous incidents in which Frank had allegedly lost his temper and scared her.

Jamie then called the couple's private security for assistance.

By the time the LAPD responded, private security had already arrived to make sure Jamie was OK.

When cops arrived, the officers interviewed both Jamie and the couple's housekeeper -- who told police she had heard Jamie scream.

Soon after she spoke with cops, we're told Jamie left the house.

Frank has a very, very different story.

Given the differences in the stories, you really start to wonder who is on first base and who is doctoring the ball. Here's Frank's story (ViaTMZ):

[Frank's] lawyer just released the following statement on his behalf:

"The events described by TMZ occurred when the McCourts had already separated.

Mr. McCourt was living alone at the residence in West Los Angeles and his wife was residing in Malibu. That morning, Mr. McCourt left the house and went jogging. When he returned home to the West Los Angeles residence, he found his wife swimming in the pool and her personal "security assistant" Jeff Fuller, was also at the residence.

The news of a 911 call came as a surprise to Mr. McCourt. He had no knowledge of any 911 call at the time; or of any visit by any police officers and law enforcement has had no contact with him. As previously reported by TMZ, Mrs. McCourt and Mr. Fuller have been linked romantically.

Any 911 call makes no sense at all unless there was an ulterior motive which you can be assured will be fully explored."

It turns out that the Dodgers are in the name of Frank. This has caused Jamie to claim, in divorce papers that she has just filed, that they (Jamie and Frank) faced a "myriad of creditors" and for that reason certain assets were held solely by Frank -- notably the Dodgers.

Jamie says when she signed agreements giving away her rights to the Dodgers, she was not represented by legal counsel. Jamie demands that the court declare "that any purported capital Marital Property Agreements are null, void, and unenforceable."

Furthermore, Jamie says the homes she and Frank had were held by her solely -- not as community property.

In the docs, Jamie also adds, "Frank and I always considered the real estate to be our property -- just like the Dodgers."

One of Jamie McCourt's lawyers has issued a stern warning to her estranged husband Frank -- if the L.A. Dodgers owner doesn't play ball, "a lot will come out about the kind of person Frank McCourt is."

Frank's lawyers have not issued any statement as to what type of person Jamie might be.

In the divorce papers, Jamie cites the couple's net worth at $1.2 billion and estimates the value of the Dodgers, including the stadium and surrounding real estate, at $800 million. According to the filing, the couple separated just days after 4th of July fireworks, presumably after private fireworks, on July 6, just four months shy of what would have been their 30th anniversary.

One might say at this point to Jamie, welcome to the recession since she claims in her divorce papers that she is now unemployed.

But, rather than look to Presidnet Obama, a la Goldman Scahs, for a bailout, or apparently to the Pillsbury Doughboy, she will look to the courts and Frank.

She is asking the court to order Frank to pay her $320,967 per month in spousal support if she is reinstated as the Dodgers' chief executive and $487,634 per month if she is not.

She said she had been paid an annual salary of $2 million before her termination. She said she believed Frank received "in excess of $5 million to $6 million a year."

So Frank, indeed, as he promised to those investment bankers years back, had done it. He turned the Dodgers into his profitable enterprise.

But now Jamie is the worrier:

The McCourts purchased the club for $431 million in 2004, in a heavily leveraged deal that stirred concern among fans wondering whether the club could continue to afford to pay top dollar for top players.

In her filing, Jamie McCourt alleges Frank McCourt has not provided her with information about what she calls "efforts to obtain new financing for the Dodgers."

"I am concerned about his financial mismanagement of the Dodgers," she claims.
In the divorce papers, we also learn that on Sept. 18 Jamie filed a formal complaint with the Dodgers' general counsel about what she called "this workplace harassment." It is not stated whether she discussed this workplace harassment with the director of protocol.

"Frank retaliated by firing me," she charged.

In her divorce filing she requests specifically:

- travel by private jet
- 5 star hotel accommodations
- travel expenses - Unlimited
- business dinners 5 nights per week
- business lunches 5 days per week
- parking spots at Dodger Stadium
- flowers in the office
- making Dodger Legends available for events without charge
- provision of Dodger autographed items as requested for use in business and charitable activities
- hair and makeup for Dodger events
- access to team doctors for McCourt family members
- access to the owner's suite for Dodger home games and non-baseball events at the stadium
- Tickets to All-Star games and playoff games -- even if the Dodgers aren't playing
- a pass to all National League games

Jamie lists her monthly living expenses at $488,928.

And there you have it, in the old days the bread winner would keep his company (wink wink) highly leveraged and the real money in Switzerland. The US gvt is slowly (no, rapidly) closing this route. And the Mafia, keeps it women out of the business loop. Frank obviously didn't take either of these routes.

Again, there's probably a moral or two to this story, but I will let each and everyone of you find your own, as will Frank and Jamie.


  1. This is why I passed on the Dodgers.

  2. Divorce laws in this country are such bullshit.

    This is the main reason I am never getting married, and just remaining partners with my lady. Property rights are shat on left and right. Women just look to loot you of your property and the courts go with it, even when the woman is still loaded. Its immoral and disgusting.

  3. and its not even subtle anymore...look at what she is asking for!

  4. On the other hand, there are women who have several children, work through out their marriage, spend it all on their families, and are abandoned without anything.

    It's about power and ethics - and who is willing to exploit a situation.

    High-status or high-earning males do get targeted financially, if they don't protect themselves.

    It's a large problem in India too, where doctors especially are often the victims of dowry rackets and false claims of abuse, whereas in many cases, it is the wife who is abusing the husband, his parents, and his sibs.

    People need to stop thinking in terms of class and gender always, and look at each situation individually.

  5. Pilsubury Doucheboy is a pussy if he has to rely on the old man's money to take care of his new catch.

  6. Jeff Fuller is a kakaroach.