Bloomberg News

Major League Baseball Objects to Dodgers’ Document Request

July 06, 2011

(Updates with statement from Dodgers spokeswoman in seventh paragraph.)

July 6 (Bloomberg) -- Major League Baseball, continuing its fight over how to finance the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers, asked a judge to dismiss the team’s request for documents and to put league officials under oath about a proposed loan.

In court papers filed today, the league accused Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt of using the team’s bankruptcy “as a forum for the vetting of his purported personal disputes and issues with Major League Baseball.”

Last week, the Dodgers said it needed to interview league officials and examine documents to show that Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was treating the team differently from others in the league. The team is trying to win approval of a $150 million loan to keep operating over opposition from the league, which proposed an alternative financing arrangement.

The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy on June 27 after Selig rejected a proposed television-rights deal McCourt negotiated with News Corp.’s Fox Sports.

Selling future cable television rights to Fox Sports would have generated enough money for the Dodgers operations and would have helped resolve an ownership fight McCourt is having with his ex-wife Jamie McCourt in divorce court in Los Angeles.

The team rejected financing from the league because of “abusive conduct by the commissioner,” the Dodgers said in court papers filed yesterday. The team claimed that Selig “starved the Dodgers of cash,” which led to the bankruptcy.

‘Real Agenda’

The documents the club is seeking “will reveal the commissioner’s real agenda in his mistreatment of the Dodgers and demonstrate why the Dodgers should not borrow money from MLB,” Lyndsey Estin, a Dodgers spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Mr. McCourt’s allegations make no sense,” the league said today in its response. The league actions were motivated by a need to “investigate mismanagement” of the team.

The Dodgers have asked to question under oath seven current or former baseball executives, including Selig. The league is seeking to question McCourt.

The case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11-12010, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

--With assistance from Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware. Editors: Mary Romano, Glenn Holdcraft

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware, at schurch3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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