Appeals court won't toss ex-Dodgers owner's divorce deal

Nick Ut/AP File PhotoAt left in a Nov. 19

LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court has refused to overturn a financial settlement between former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife, who argued that McCourt misled her about the value of the team and television broadcast rights.

The unanimous ruling Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeals leaves intact an agreement that paid Jamie McCourt $131 million and other assets to resolve financial issues in the pair's divorce. She sought to block the deal.

The court ruled that there is no basis to overturn a ruling by a lower-court judge, who found that Jamie McCourt wasn't credible when she testified that her ex-husband hadn't provided accurate estimates of the Dodgers' worth. The team was sold for $2 billion in 2012.

The 22-page ruling noted that Frank McCourt gave more than 220,000 pages of financial records to his ex-wife's lawyers during their divorce proceedings and that while Jamie McCourt was a team official in 2009 she reviewed a document estimating the combined value of the Dodgers and television rights at more than $2.4 billion.

Jamie McCourt filed for divorce in October 2009, and the pair reached a financial agreement in their divorce in late 2011. The deal came after the Dodgers filed for bankruptcy, setting the stage for the team's 2012 purchase by Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group that included retired Lakers star Magic Johnson.

In addition to the cash payment, the agreement called for Jamie McCourt to receive several luxury homes and other property.

The appeals court ruling stated that a divorce judge was correct to rule that Jamie McCourt did not enter into the settlement by mistake.

“Jamie simply chose the security of a guaranteed $131 million payment, plus more than $50 million in real and personal property, over the uncertainty and risk presented by the valuation and sale of the Dodger assets,” the ruling stated.

Jamie McCourt has been ordered to repay her ex-husband $1.9 million in legal fees over her attempts to set aside their divorce judgment.

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