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What Dodgers’ Deal Means For Mets

Posted By Howard Megdal On October 18, 2011 @ 11:02 am In Business of Baseball | Comments Disabled

There are a few details worth noting from the settlement reached yesterday [1] between Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie.

Notice that he has until spring to come up with $130 million. Now that a settlement has been reached, he faces a hard deadline of next spring. This tells you all you need to know about the inherent problems the Mets would have settling the suit brought by Irving Picard, trustee for the Madoff victims. If they’d merely settled for $300 million- the fictitious profits sought by Picard, not the settlement- they’d have had to come up with $300 million.

Remember that the $200 million they were set to receive from David Einhorn wasn’t going to Picard- it was going toward paying other, more pressing debt. And why was it more pressing? Because the ongoing litigation, rather than settlement, meant whatever they end up owing Picard wasn’t yet due.

But the other interesting fact worth noting here comes from this statement: “If the court grants the auction but mandates the money be used only for the Dodgers, then Frank could try to sell a minority share in the team or some of the land surrounding Dodger Stadium. However, Commissioner Bud Selig almost certainly would oppose any such sale unless the money went back into the Dodgers.”

The proposed sale to Einhorn would have paid for 2011 team losses, a loan to MLB, and paid down some of the debt against the team. If the above paragraph is correct, however, it suggests that the Mets won’t be able to sell a minority portion of the team to pay for any portion of a Picard judgment.

Then again, it hasn’t been clear so far that Selig expects all his teams to play by the same rules. So anything is still possible. It would just provide us with a specific example of the Dodgers and Mets getting different treatment.

As for that case against the Mets itself, it continues forward. The latest battle is over a jury trial- the Mets are against it, the trustee is for it. Make of that what you will.

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[1] the settlement reached yesterday: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-1018-dodgers-mcourt-20111018,0,6070660.story

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