Trial date arguments due in Dodgers divorce case

A day after hearing about how Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his estranged wife spent millions of dollars during their 30-year marriage, a court commissioner will deal with a more mundane topic on Tuesday - setting a trial date.

At issue is whether Frank McCourt should have sole possession of the team, or if his estranged wife should be deemed a co-owner as part of the couple's ongoing divorce case.

The couple signed a marital agreement in 2004, the same year the Dodgers were purchased. Frank McCourt argues that the deal gives him the rights to the team, the stadium and the land surrounding it, while Jamie McCourt should get the couple's six homes and one condominium.

His attorneys have said the pact is valid under California law and was designed to protect Jamie McCourt from any creditor claims made against Frank McCourt or the Dodgers.

Frank McCourt has said in court papers that the couple had a long standing practice of dividing their assets, and he allowed his wife to identify herself as "co-owner" for the "interests of family harmony."

Dennis Wasser, who represents Jamie McCourt, said Monday that the agreement didn't provide equitable allocation for his client. When the document was signed, Frank McCourt's value was about $380 million, while Jamie McCourt's was around $68 million, he said.

"There was already unequal division," Wasser said.

On Monday, Frank and Jamie McCourt squared off in court for the first time in a hearing that took place just a mile from Dodger Stadium and offered several examples of the couple's high-flying spending habits.

Attorneys spoke about the couple's stays at five-star resorts, flights on private jets and meals at fancy restaurants.

Wasser noted that Frank McCourt recently spent as much as $80,000 on a Caribbean vacation. Sorrell Trope, an attorney for Frank McCourt, said Jamie McCourt uses a house in the affluent Los Angeles neighborhood of Holmby Hills exclusively for swimming, while another home is used to store furniture.

The amount of riches argued about during Monday's hearing wasn't lost on Trope.

"We're in fantasyland here," he said. "It's Alice in Wonderland. I don't have my 3-D glasses on."

Jamie McCourt is seeking nearly $1 million a month in temporary spousal support. Trope offered her $150,000 in monthly assistance and argued his client can't tap credit lines to maintain Jamie McCourt's lavish lifestyle, despite his $5 million annual salary.

"If we look at this case, realistically, you can't order Mr. McCourt to borrow money to pay support," Trope told Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon, who also will preside at Tuesday's hearing.

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