Dodgers debt worse than we thought

The Times used an outside accountant to look at the mounds of financial information that has become publicly available as part of the Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce action. The conclusion: "Frank McCourt has so heavily leveraged the team — $433 million in debt as of last year — that he has struggled to find additional financing. The debt load has limited how the Dodgers can pay their players and could affect the team's ability to sign talent." Tonight's story by Bill Shaikin and E. Scott Reckard goes into the Dodgers profitability in reason years, the plans to reduce the Dodgers' investment in players (while raising ticket prices), and the huge amounts of cash that the McCourts removed from the Dodgers. Also this:

McCourt was turned down at least three times — by Citibank, by a Chinese investment group and by a Southern California infomercial king — in trying to secure additional financing last year, according to documents filed in the divorce case between him and his estranged wife, Jamie....

"Every dollar he makes is going to pay his debts," said Raman Sain, a principal at Holthouse Carlin and Van Trigt, the largest accounting firm based in Southern California. The firm, with $59 million in annual revenue and 250 employees, analyzed tens of thousands of pages of documents filed in the divorce case for The Times.

Frank's plan to keep the Dodgers profitable in the face of all that debt by cutting the amount he pays players, and the amounts siphoned away from the club to personal uses, were a big part of today's testimony in court. Meanwhile, Dodger Divorce blogger Josh Fisher has left town due to a family obligation. Times account, LA Weekly

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