How did McCourt get to be Dodgers owner in the first place?

For all the accolades that baseball commissioner Bud Selig has been receiving for taking over the club, it's worth remembering that Selig had signed off on McCourt's highly leveraged, highly questionable purchase in 2004. It wasn't hard to find doubters, especially given McCourt's track record in Boston. Yet Selig said at the time that the sale "heralds the beginning of a new era of family ownership for one of the game's most storied franchises." He also noted that the sale "meets all of baseball's debt service rules and financial requirements in every way." ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski takes us back to the circumstances behind the McCourt deal.

Selig and the owners knew that the sellers, Fox, desperately wanted to unload the Dodgers. They knew the mega-media company was willing to float McCourt a $145 million loan to complete the deal. They knew McCourt used his Boston parking lot properties as collateral on the loan. (He later defaulted those properties to Fox.) Who's kidding who? Fox was MLB's national TV rights holder and Selig and the owners were trying to do it a business favor. So everybody drew smiley faces on the McCourts' spread sheets and ledgers and hoped for the best.


Frank and Jamie never deserved the Dodgers. Dodgers fans never deserved the seven-year Wrath of McKhans. The McCourts won nothing of substance. Built nothing of substance. Leave nothing of substance -- except $400 million-plus (and counting) of team debt and a legacy of embarrassment. If they're smart, they'll realize they've been checkmated. They need to go very quietly into the night. The sooner, the better.

Or as sports columnist Buzz Bissinger puts it in the Daily Beast:

There is simply no way to say with any degree of artfulness so I won't even try: Los Angeles Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt is a vile piece of shit who not only ruined what was once the classiest franchise in all of sports but should also face legal consequences if allegations are true that he did reportedly not pay any taxes on $105 million he siphoned from the Dodgers' for his own personal use.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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