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MLB to bankruptcy judge: Force McCourt to sell Dodgers, or we’ll do it later

Los Angeles DodgersIn a bankruptcy-court filing, Major League Baseball has asked the Delaware judge overseeing matters to force Frank McCourt to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers and related assets — or else MLB will seize the team post-bankruptcy.

“Mr. McCourt cannot hide the Dodgers in bankruptcy forever,” the filing read.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the move, which is fairly aggressive. In the filing, attorneys said they did not foresee a situation where MLB would approve a media-rights deal that would solve the Dodgers’ financial issues, but at a high cost — some of the proceeds would be diverted to McCourt’s personal accounts and used to settle his divorce with Jamie McCourt. With the team lacking the financial wherewithal to continue, MLB would seize the franchise and its assets, including Dodger Stadium.

For McCourt’s attorneys, the issue is simple: a front-loaded media deal after an auction bails out the team. In a response to MLB’s motion, McCourt’s attorneys say liquidation is a last resort and should not be ordered if there’s a viable solution to the team’s financial issues.

As we noted, the filing is pretty aggressive. Whether it works remains to be seen: bankruptcy judges tend to give the benefit of the doubt to firms seeking to clean up their financial issues in full, and whether or not you think Frank McCourt has acted in a financially prudent way, a media-rights sale would indeed fully settle a lot of accounts — which is the whole point of bankruptcy protection.

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