Steve Soboroff, the former candidate for mayor and city commissioner, submitted an op-ed piece to the L.A. Times praising Frank McCourt's ownership of the Dodgers and his role in the community — and chiding "piling on" by those saying negative things about McCourt. He also says McCourt is "far from broke" and that it's naysayers pushing rumors who say the team is in a financial pinch. This comes about a week after former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley said the team needs new ownership, and baseball commissioner Bud Selig expressed concern about the situation in Los Angeles. The Times has no intention of running the piece on the Op-Ed page, says Bill Shaikin, who reports the piece was signed by ten other civic leaders. They aren't named, but the full text was posted on the paper's website. Excerpt:
We love Los Angeles and people who do good things for Los Angeles. What we do not like is how some in our city seem to make it a sport to tear down some of the very people who do plenty to make L.A. a better place.
It is not just uncomfortable to watch public attempts to pour "salt in the wounds" of fellow Angelenos, it is bad business, bad public policy and not in the best interest of a city whose civic life depends on leaders who demonstrate a willingness and commitment to step up to the plate.
And he is far from broke. Despite what some may say, the Dodgers are worth at least $300 million more than all the debt everyone seems so excited about. He has been public about his plans to invest most of that into the Dodgers business. The naysayers are spreading rumors, lining up to snatch the team at some fire sale. Fox had the fire sale. McCourt has the equity and created real value.
It should be noted (although the Times story didn't) that Soboroff and McCourt share the same PR rep, Steve Sugerman.