Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Apocalypse Soon For Frank As Dodgers Payroll Checks Could Bounce, Some Tweets From The McCourt Interview
The Los Angeles Dodgers may not have enough cash to cover their expenses at the end of this month when a round to paychecks to players are due, according to two people familiar with the team's financial problems. The team also certainly will face insolvency by July, they said.
As a result of the cash crunch, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has offered full cooperation with monitor Tom Schieffer, the former ambassador appointed last month by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig to oversee the franchise.
A lawyer for McCourt earlier this week sent a letter to Bradley Ruskin of Proskauer Rose, which is representing Major League Baseball in the matter, to make it clear that that Schieffer would have immediate access to all the financial material he needs for the ongoing investigation of the franchise's viability.
In the letter, which was described to The Wall Street Journal, McCourt attorney Robert Sacks pledges to make all financial documents available and to set up a password-protected computerized database for Schieffer and representatives of Major League Baseball to review.
For McCourt, the speed of the investigation is crucial because Selig has said he will not approve a new broadcast rights deal McCourt reached with News Corp.'s Fox unit until the financial investigation is complete. The 17-year, $3 billion deal includes a $285 million up-front payment that McCourt needs to cover the team's cash needs. News Corp. also owns The Wall Street Journal.
In an interview Tuesday, Schieffer said that despite McCourt's cooperation, it wasn't clear yet how long the investigation will take.
"It's a complicated web of companies, and we have to follow one dollar in the door and out the door," he said. "We have to figure out what's going on the best we can and get to facts everybody agrees on. Then the options will define themselves."
The KSPN interview of McCourt went about as I figured; he largely evaded all the significant questions, his hosts fawned over his answers (remember, it's a huge deal to get a sports team's owner on a call-in show like this, and an even bigger one when it's a franchise the size of the Dodgers), and he sputtered. My favorite tweets during the show (inexplicably, the chat at Dodger Divorce wasn't working for me, or else they decided to censor me, something I sorta doubt):
- Eric Stephen: "I don't need a lot of houses," says Frank McCourt, owner of a lot of houses
- Craig Phillips: McCourt suddenly sounds like Porky Pig when asked about the 30 million loan he needed.
- Fake Ned Colletti: You people disgust me. Poor Frank McCourt just slammed down his diamond encrusted phone and threw a Fabergé egg across the room. #Dodgers