Attorney: Frank McCourt didn’t want revised agreement that would share Dodgers with wifeBy Greg Risling, AP
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Attorney: McCourt didn’t want to share Dodgers
LOS ANGELES — An estate-planning attorney testified Tuesday that a distraught Frank McCourt told her last summer he would not sign a revised marital agreement that would share the Los Angeles Dodgers with his wife.
Leah Bishop said she spent months drafting a new version of the agreement per the couple’s request in mid-2008 that kept a half-dozen luxurious homes in Jamie McCourt’s possession, but called for everything else to be jointly owned.
Frank and Jamie McCourt broke up last October after nearly 30 years of marriage. The pact is the center of a divorce dispute between the estranged couple that could determine who owns the Dodgers.
Frank McCourt maintains the agreement provides for his sole ownership of the Dodgers, while Jamie McCourt contends it should be thrown out and the assets should be split evenly under California’s community property law.
Bishop said that despite a series of e-mails and letters exchanged among her, the couple and their advisers between August 2008 and early 2009, Frank McCourt never expressed concern about making the team community property until May 2009 when he sent an email to Bishop.
Two months later, Bishop said she met with Frank McCourt for more than three hours where he opened up to her about his marriage.
Frank McCourt said his wife wanted to be part of his businesses after they moved to California from Massachusetts, Bishop testified. Once she was elevated to be the Dodgers’ chief executive officer, Frank McCourt told Bishop that she was creating problems in the front office.
“He said she was lacking rationality,” Bishop recalls him saying. “He said he just realized that she thinks she can run the team. That’s a total disconnect.”
She added that Frank McCourt said he wanted to focus on his companies and thought it best if his wife wasn’t involved with the Dodgers.
“He wanted her to do something else that occupies her time, and it wasn’t the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Bishop said.
Frank McCourt also wasn’t happy with his wife’s spending habits, Bishop said, detailing how he told her that he had taken out more than $100 million from his businesses to go toward their homes and that the couple had spent about $800,000 on security.
Frank McCourt had said his wife wanted the homes free of any debt, she said.
Bishop said Frank McCourt clammed up toward the end of their meeting after he did much of the talking.
“He asked, ‘Did I do anything wrong? Did I treat her badly?’” Bishop told jurors. “I said he hadn’t been very nice to her,” she testified, adding one instance of him yelling at her in front of people.
Bishop believed Frank McCourt didn’t take his wife’s wishes to change the agreement very seriously.
“I know estate planning doesn’t break up a marriage. He blew her off,” she said. “He didn’t read any of the documents.”
But under cross-examination by Frank McCourt’s attorney Steve Susman, Bishop recalled that Frank McCourt cried at one point during the meeting.
Frank McCourt was expected to take the stand after Bishop finishes her testimony.
Tags: California, Los Angeles, North America, Professional Baseball, United States