Judge orders McCourt to pay $225K monthly spousal support

A judge ordered Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today to pay his estranged wife, Jamie, $225,000 a month in temporary spousal support, plus $412,159 monthly to pay the mortgages on the couple's properties.

In a 55-page ruling, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Scott G. Gordon also ordered that the couple sell a home they own in Cabo San Lucas.

Jamie McCourt can use half the proceeds of that sale to help pay for her attorneys' fees, Gordon ruled. Her attorneys had asked in March for nearly $1 million a month, while Frank McCourt's lawyer countered that his client was willing to pay $150,000 monthly.

Gordon noted in his ruling that both McCourts were accustomed to lavish lifestyles.

"The evidence produced in this matter shows that during the course of their 30-year marriage, the parties established a very high and lavish marital standard of living,'' Gordon wrote.

Marc Seltzer, one of Frank McCourt's attorneys, said he accepts Gordon's decision.

"He rejected Mrs. McCourt's request for almost half a million dollars in Dodger perks, and ordered her to pay her own attorneys' fees,'' Seltzer said. "The judge (sic) has now cleared the way for trial on the most important issue in this divorce, the validity of the Marital Property Agreements. These
agreements make clear that Frank is the sole owner of the Dodgers. We look forward to the trial in August.''

Gordon had earlier scheduled an Aug. 30 trial to decide the issue of whether Jamie McCourt has an ownership stake in the Dodgers.

Jamie McCourt claims her estranged husband has spent more than $133,000 on new clothes and a vacation since November, traveled to the Super Bowl and has kept two of their sons on the Dodger payroll at salaries of $400,000 and $200,000, "despite the fact that one is a graduate student at Stanford and the other works full-time at Goldman Sachs,'' Gordon wrote.

The commissioner said a "great dispute exists with regard to the value of the primary asset involved in this case, the Los Angeles Dodgers.''

Frank McCourt claims that the team is worth about $163 million, while Jamie McCourt maintains it is worth more than $830 million, Gordon wrote.

One of Frank McCourt's lawyers, Sorrell Trope, argued in March that his client cannot continue to support "the lifestyle Mrs. McCourt has chosen for herself,'' saying she uses multimillion-dollar properties the couple bought just to store furniture.

The residences could instead be leased to tenants for thousands of dollars a month, said Anne Kiley, another Frank McCourt lawyer.

Jamie McCourt's lawyer, Dennis Wasser, acknowledged the estranged couple had multiple homes and flew in private aircraft when they were together, but only because they both chose to live such a lifestyle during a marriage that spanned more than three decades.

"These people aren't crazy, they are sensible people with a lot of money,'' Wasser said.

The lawyer noted that Frank McCourt recently spent $80,000 vacationing in the Caribbean.

"Why shouldn't Mrs. McCourt be able to do the same things?'' Wasser asked. "The Dodger organization is a cash cow. There's plenty of money to go around for both sides to live comfortably the rest of their lives.''

Attorneys for Jamie McCourt told Gordon in March that she has about $4 million in savings and roughly $450,000 in cash that will soon be drained due to monthly mortgage payments of about $415,000 on the couple's homes and vacation properties, according to recently filed documents in the case.

Jamie McCourt's lawyers argued that Frank McCourt has at least $18 million available that could help pay for her spousal support.

But Frank McCourt said earlier that he would only earn about $5 million this year. His attorneys argued that Jamie McCourt should be denied $1 million in spousal support because she has assets worth more than $75 million.

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