McCourt Case

September 18, 2010

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For the second time in recent years, a divorce threatens to tear apart a team in the National League West.  In 2008, Padres owners John and Becky Moores filed for divorce, and a substantial share of the club was sold as a result.  Now it is the Dodgers caught in the crossfire of a divorce.

Frank and Jamie McCourt (no, not the Frank McCourt who wrote Angela’s Ashes) bought the Dodgers in 2004.  Before she was fired (by her husband) at the end of last season, Jamie McCourt, as CEO of the Dodgers, was the highest ranking female executive in baseball (granted, this is a bit easier to accomplish when you own the team).

With the Dodgers a non-factor in the competitive NL West, the focus of Los Angeles is on the marathon divorce trial.  The trial began on August 30th and will pick up again on Monday after a two week recess.  It is expected that legal fees will total $20 million by the time the case concludes.  This is not going to be an amicable settlement.  Both sides are accusing the other of wrongdoing.  Frank McCourt has accused his wife of cheating with her driver.  On the flip side, Jamie’s lawyer are accusing Frank of legal shenanigans with respect to a post-nuptial agreement the couple signed.  There are six copies of the agreement.  Three of them list the Dodgers as Frank’s separate property, the other three do not (in which case they would be joint property).  Forbes has recently pegged the value of the team at $700 million … so you can understand why the two sides are willing to pony up $20 million for the best lawyers money can buy.

Lots of interesting tidbits about the couple are spilling out.  Perhaps the fact that I found the most interesting is that they employed a hairstylist who worked on their hair five days a week – at a staggering cost of $150,000.  How vain must you be to spend that sort of money on your hair?  I spend $0 on haircuts per year.  Heck, I doubt that Warren Buffett spends $150,000 on haircuts annually.  Or $15,000.  Or $1500.  Probably more than I spend, though.

In other news:

The trial of Andrew Gallo began on Monday.  Gallo is charged in the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others as the result of a fatal auto accident in April of 2009.  Gallo was drunk at the time of the accident (registering a .19 blood alcohol content two hours after the accident) and was driving 66 mph in a 35 mph zone.  Gallo had previously been convicted of DUI and had signed an agreement acknowledging that if he caused a fatal accident while under the influence, he would be charged with murder.  Because of this agreement, Gallo is being charged with 2nd degree murder.

The defense attorney in the case is accusing the DA of overcharging Gallo because Adenhart was a celebrity.  The DA countered by saying that 10 drunk driving cases have been prosecuted as murders since 2008.

Personally, I think it makes perfect sense to charge Gallo with murder.  He was clearly aware of the consequences of his actions, since he had previously been notified that this sort of accident would result in a murder charge against him.  He killed three people, was driving 30 mph above the speed limit, and had a blood alcohol level more than two times the legal limit (again, this was two hours after the accident – the level would have been even higher than the .19 at the time of the accident).  Celebrity victim or not, this is EXACTLY the sort of case that should trigger California’s “DUI as murder” statute.

In closing, I’ll turn this into a short public service announcement.  If you think you have a drinking problem, you’re probably right.  Seek help, either through a doctor or an organization such as Alcoholics Anonymous.  It’s not too late to get help.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evan @ 40Tech
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 08:19:09

    I can see it now – MLB will need a rule, similar to the rules about owning multiple franchises, banning a husband and wife from owning a team together. OK, that’s probably not going to happen, but sheez.

    I really have little sympathy for the defendant in the Adenhart case. I’m curious whether the agreement Gallo signed is a standard thing in DUI cases.


  2. kosmo
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 12:53:57

    I poked around a bit. DUI defendants in California must sign the “Watson Advisement”

    I understand that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, impairs my ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Therfore, it is extremely dangerous to human life to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. If I continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and as a result of my driving, someone is killed, I can be charged with murder.


  3. Evan @ 40Tech
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 13:38:46

    Now that’s service! Thanks for looking it up.


  4. kosmo
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 10:49:58

    No problem. You piqued my interested, so I took a few minutes to Google the details.


  5. Sue@ LA DUI Attorney
    Dec 07, 2010 @ 17:02:34

    How long do you think that it’s going to take to settle this dispute between them? It seems like it’s been going on forever- and really effecting the team. Going to a Dodger game just doesn’t have the same feeling anymore!


    • kosmo
      Dec 08, 2010 @ 08:41:10

      I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. With the amount of money at stake, I suspect that they’ll be trading blows for a while. And now that a judge ruled them community property, it’s going to bog things down even more for the Dodgers.


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