McCourts' post-nuptial agreement focus on day 3 of bitter divorce trial

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Frank McCourt leaves Los Angeles County Superior Court after day one of a non-jury divorce trial on August 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The trial, being presided over by Judge Scott M. Gordon in California Superior Court, is to decide whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team or his estranged wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt still has ownership stake in the team.

Frank McCourt has testified for a third day before the Los Angeles judge who’ll decide whether he’s the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s the key question in the divorce trial of Frank and Jamie McCourt. A post-nuptial agreement touched off the ownership dispute.

Three copies of that agreement say Frank McCourt owns the team; three say it belongs to Frank and soon-to-be-ex-wife Jamie McCourt. In court documents filed in April, Jamie’s divorce lawyers suggested that the copies that say the team is Frank’s might be fraudulent – and that Frank might be responsible.

Frank McCourt said he was “extremely upset” to learn that. He said the three copies of the agreement he signed in Massachusetts didn’t list the Dodgers as his alone. That was an error, he said – and he had it corrected.

McCourt said the three copies he signed in California listed the baseball team again as community property – but he missed that before he signed. His divorce attorneys say a lawyer later replaced the apparently erroneous document with one that said the Dodgers belong only to Frank.

They say the point of the agreement was to put the homes in Jamie’s name – safe from creditors in case the Dodger deal went south. They say a post-nuptial agreement that lists her as a team owner defeats the purpose.

McCourt: Wife concerned about nest egg
By Greg Risling

Former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt was more concerned with protecting the couple's luxurious homes than dealing with baseball matters and didn't want to take the risk associated with buying one of baseball's most storied franchises six years ago, her estranged husband said.

Frank McCourt is scheduled to take the stand again Friday for his fourth day of testimony in the couple's divorce trial.

McCourt bought the Dodgers in what he called a risky deal for about $430 million, a majority of which was funded with loans that needed to be refinanced within two years.

"She said to me repeatedly, 'You can make a billion dollars, you can lose a billion dollars. I want my own nest egg,'" McCourt, 57, said.

His testimony cuts to the heart of the dispute that could decide who owns the team. He contends that the agreement gives him sole ownership of the Dodgers, the stadium and the surrounding property, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Jamie McCourt believes the agreement should be thrown out and those assets should be split evenly under California's community property law.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon will have to decide whether the 10-page agreement is valid. He also could order the sale of the Dodgers.

Jamie McCourt eventually became the team's CEO, but her husband fired her last year. In court documents, he accused her of having an affair with her bodyguard-driver and not meeting job expectations.

McCourt also said he never told anyone that his wife was co-owner, a claim she began making last summer. Around the same time, McCourt was considering changing the agreement to make the Dodgers community property, but held off for nine months before deciding against it.

"I love my wife. It's simple as that," said McCourt, recounting a July 2009 conversation with an estate-planning attorney. "She was trying very hard to convince me to sign the documents. She basically put the marriage on the line."

© 2010 The Associated Press.

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