Explaining Southern California's economy

Frank McCourt: Businessman of the year?

LAPD Takes Over Security At Dodgers Games After Attack On Giants Fan

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Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. He sold the team, but kept the parking lots, to the tune of $14 million a year.

Now that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been officially sold, for the record-setting price of $2 billion, we can, without emotion, consider the accomplishment of former owner Frank McCourt.

You'd have to seriously consider him for the title of businessman of the year. Seriously.

Why? Because in 2004, McCourt bought the Dodgers for $430 million, using effectively none of his own money. After satisfying the various debts related to the team as it emerged from bankruptcy court into the arms of Magic Johnson's ownership group, Guggenheim Baseball Management (GMB), McCourt should clear something like $1 billion. He had to pay his ex-wife $131 million in their divorce settlement — but the side deal he did for the Dodger Stadium parking lots amounted to $3 billion, split between himself and what has been described as an "entity" associated with the new owners. At $150 million, his half wound up being worth close to $20 million more than Jamie's payout.

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Guggenheim's Mark Walter clarifies the McCourt parking lots deal

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Dodger Stadium during a night game.

Mark Walter, the CEO of Guggenheim Partners and "controlling partner" of the Guggenheim Baseball Management team that includes Magic Johnson and is buying the Dodgers for $2 billion, has finally commented on the burning issue of the sale: What's going on with Frank McCourt and the parking lots?

Thanks to Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed for digging this up:

ESPN is reporting that the Dodger sale includes a 50 percent stake in the parking lots, which are said to have a value of $300 million. Current owner Frank McCourt will keep the other half.
[Controlling owner Mark] Walter said he understood the concerns, but insisted that McCourt will only have an "economic interest" in the land and not any control or influence over it. "Frank's not involved in the team, baseball, any of that," Walter said. "What Frank does have is an economic interest in land, but we control the parking and all the fan experience and that's of the utmost importance to us."

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What's the deal with the Dodgers parking lots?

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

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The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. You can see Frank McCourt's precious parking lots in the background.

Forget that Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber, and Guggenheim Partners — as "Guggenheim Baseball Management" — are buying the L.A. Dodgers for $2 billion. Everyone really wants to know what's going on with Frank McCourt and the massive parking lots!

At L.A. Weekly, David Futch summarizes:

Though many wanted him gone for good, under the sales terms, McCourt will be co-owner of the surrounding lands. In essence, he purchased the Dodger acreage from himself along with his new partner, a still-unnamed affiliate of Guggenheim.
McCourt has dreamed of a major development that could substantially alter the deliberately scruffy, artsy Echo Park vibe. Locals fear that the tin-ear McCourt will champion something along the lines of The Grove in the Fairfax District, an upscale mall that’s anethema to Eastsiders — many of whom make a sport of dumping on cookie-cutter chain stores and Muzak drifting from outdoor speakers shaped like boulders.

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Dodgers sale: The final bidding is shaping up as expected

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

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The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

UPDATE: The Disney Family is also still in the running. So a total of five known and two unknown bidders.

The number of bidders for the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers has been narrowed to six, according the L.A. Times. Two are mysterious and unknown. But five aren't. They are:

Steven Cohen, a secretive Connecticut hedge fund billionaire who is probably the richest guy still in the running, with a personal net worth estimated at $8 billion

Tom Barrack of Colony Capital, a $30-billion L.A.-based private equity firm

Magic Johnson, in partnership with Stan Kasten

Jared Kushner, the boy-wonder son-in-law of Donald Trump who has so far distinguished himself by running a money-losing weekly newspaper, the New York Observer

•The Disney Family (haven't heard much about this bid, to be honest)

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Dodgers sale: Rick Caruso and Joe Torre yank bid over parking lots

Dodger Stadium Bleachers

pvsbond/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Parking lots? Yes, parking lots. The Dream Team of bidders for the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers, developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, has dropped out of the final rounds of bidding because current owner Frank McCourt insists on keeping the parking lots that surround Dodger Stadium.

The Los Angeles Times has obtained a copy of the letter that Caruso and Torre sent to Major League Baseball on Feb. 17. In it, they leave open the possibility of re-entering the fray. But in retrospect, we should have seen this coming. The parking lots aren't part of the bankruptcy proceeding. But it was widely assumed that McCourt would let them go to sweeten the deal. 

Of course, McCourt is, down deep, a parking lot guy. This is where he made his money, back in Boston before he came west to try his hand an running a storied MLB franchise. Caruso is also a parking lot guy, in a manner of speaking. If he and Torre had been able to buy the Dodgers, he would have let Joe run the team while he set about remaking Chavez Ravine in the manner of the Grove and the Americana at Brand, his beloved, Vegasized shopping meccas in L.A. 

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