Frank McCourt (executive)

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Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt
Born (1953-08-14) August 14, 1953 (age 61)

Frank H. McCourt (born August 14, 1953) is an American businessman, president of the McCourt Group and owner of the Los Angeles Marathon. He was owner and chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine from 2004–12.

In 2004, he purchased a controlling interest of the Dodgers from Fox Entertainment Group, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Prior to purchasing the Dodgers and moving to Los Angeles, McCourt was a Boston real estate developer, whose family resided in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In 2013, he donated $100 million to establish the McCourt School of Public Policy, the ninth school of Georgetown University.

Early years and business background[edit]

McCourt was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was raised Roman Catholic[1] and attended Georgetown University where he earned an economics degree in 1975.[2] He met his future wife, Jamie McCourt, when they were both freshmen at Georgetown. They married in 1979.[3] The McCourt family has a long association with real estate and construction in the Boston area.

In 1977, Frank McCourt founded The McCourt Company, which specializes in the development of major commercial real estate projects, particularly parking lots.[2]

In the late 1970s McCourt acquired 24 acres (97,000 m2) in South Boston from the bankrupt Penn Central railroad and developed the L-shaped property into parking lots. That property is located here: 42°21′7.81″N 71°2′42.74″W / 42.3521694°N 71.0452056°W / 42.3521694; -71.0452056

The McCourt company headquarters moved to Los Angeles in 2004 in connection with the family relocating to Los Angeles. The McCourts owned a $16 million, 13,000 sq ft (1,200 m2) home in Brookline, MA that was acquired by John W. Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox.[4]

Failed Red Sox bid[edit]

Before buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank McCourt made a bid to buy his hometown Boston Red Sox. If he had won the bid, he had planned to build a new stadium on the land he owned and used for parking lots on the South Boston waterfront.[5] Instead, the Red Sox were sold in 2002 to John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Red Sox President Larry Lucchino.

McCourt is not the first member of this family to own part or whole of a sports franchise. His grandfather was part-owner of the Boston Braves.[6]

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

Purchase of the L.A. Dodgers[edit]

After his failed bid to buy the Red Sox, he turned his attention to the Dodgers. In 2004, McCourt bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $430 million from NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch's flagship enterprise.[7] McCourt's purchase of the Dodgers was financed mostly by debt.

In 2004 McCourt's South Boston parking lot property was used as collateral for some of the financing to acquire the Dodgers from News Corp. Later the South Boston property was turned over to News Corp. in exchange for canceling acquisition debt.[3] News Corp. received approximately $200 million when they re-sold the property to Morgan Stanley and Boston real estate investor John B. Hynes III in 2006.[8]

The Dodgers assets acquired by McCourt included significant real estate assets related to the stadium in Chavez Ravine, including stadium parking lot land. Plans have been announced for new real estate developments at Dodger Stadium.

To offset the purchase, McCourt raised ticket and concession prices every year.[9] By April 2009 the team and its related assets, in which McCourt had invested heavily in improvements, had increased in value to $722 million according to Forbes. [10] [11] In 2010 the value of the team was estimated at $727 million according to Forbes.[12]

Hiring and firing of Paul DePodesta[edit]

In 2003 (under News Corp ownership) the Dodger's record was 85 wins, 77 losses. Shortly after purchasing the team, McCourt fired then General Manager Dan Evans, replacing him with Paul DePodesta. DePodesta is featured (along with Billy Beane) in the book Moneyball as it discusses their non-traditional approach to using statistics to manage the Oakland A's. In Los Angeles DePodesta made a blockbuster trade in the middle of the 2004 season: the Dodgers sent the team's starting catcher, Paul LoDuca, its set-up man, pitcher Guillermo Mota, and outfielder Juan Encarnacion to the Florida Marlins for the high on-base percentage first baseman Hee-Seop Choi and power pitcher Brad Penny and pitching prospect Bill Murphy, who was in turn flipped with Koyie Hill and Reggie Abercrombie to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Gold Glove center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brent Mayne. At the time, DePodesta said of Choi, "I think we've acquired one of the better offensive players in the league."[13]

Although Finley hit 13 HRs for the Dodgers in his two months with the team, this trade was a spectacular bust. In the playoff loss to St. Louis that season, Penny did not play, Choi had one at bat (hitless) and Dodger catchers were 3-for-10.[14] Choi batted .161 with 0 HRs for the Dodgers after the trade, though he did walk 11 times in 87 plate appearances.

In 2004, the Dodgers won the NL West (93 W, 69 L), but lost in four games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Divisional Series of the playoffs. In the offseason the Dodgers decided not to re-sign Adrián Beltré due to his high contract demands (Beltre finished second in the NL MVP voting and would later sign with Seattle for 5 years/$64 million).[15] DePodesta signed outfielder J.D. Drew for five years at $55 million,[16] sinkerball pitcher Derek Lowe for four years ($36 million),[17] and All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent.

However, the 2005 season (71 W, 91 L) was the Dodgers' second-worst record since moving to Los Angeles, due in part to players' injuries. That off-season, manager Jim Tracy was fired. Soon after Tracy was fired, McCourt fired DePodesta and about a month later, hired Ned Colletti to replace him.

Ned Colletti / Joe Torre era[edit]

Ned Colletti's first action as GM was the signing of the former Red Sox manager, Grady Little. Colletti then signed several veteran players such as Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Lofton, and Bill Mueller. These players were among those who led the 2006 Dodgers to the NL Wild Card spot, with an 88–74 record. The Dodgers were swept by the New York Mets in the National League Division Series. In the winter of 2006–07 the team signed Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, and Luis Gonzalez.

In October 2007, Grady Little resigned and Joe Torre was hired as their new manager. In 2008 with Torre, Ned Colletti signed Andruw Jones, Hiroki Kuroda, and Chan Ho Park. During the trade deadline the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.

In 2007 Dr. Charles Steinberg was hired as Executive Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations of the Dodgers after working with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. In 2009 he was reported to be on his way out and was said to be allied with Jamie McCourt and had lost influence as she did, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.[18][19]

Divorce proceedings[edit]

On October 14, 2009 it was announced the McCourts would be separating after nearly 30 years of marriage.[20] While speculation was raised on the impact upon the McCourt family and Dodger ownership, a spokesperson for Jamie McCourt said the following day that "the focus of the Dodgers is on the playoffs and the World Series." Jamie was fired from her position as Dodgers CEO on Thursday, October 22, 2009, the day after the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs.[20] She officially filed for divorce shortly thereafter. He has claimed that the divorce has "no bearing on the team whatsoever."[21]

On December 7, 2010 the judge in the divorce case of the McCourts invalidated the post-nuptial marital property agreement ("MPA") that Frank McCourt had claimed provided him with sole ownership of the Dodgers. In the wake of this decision, Frank McCourt's lawyers said that Frank would use other legal avenues to establish his sole ownership of the Dodgers, while Jamie McCourt's lawyers said that Jamie would be confirmed as the co-owner of the team as community property of their marriage.[22]

On June 17, 2011, the McCourts reached agreement on a settlement of their divorce. The settlement was contingent upon Major League Baseball approving a 17-year television contract between the Dodgers and FOX Television. The discussion set aside the Dodgers' ownership issue until a scheduled one-day trial on August 4, whereupon if the judge sided with Frank he would keep the team and pay a settlement fee to Jamie and if the judge sided with her the team would be sold.[23] However, on June 20, baseball rejected the television deal and the settlement agreement fell apart.[24]

On October 17, 2011 the McCourts reached a settlement in their divorce case whereby Jamie would receive about $130 million and relinquish her claim on the Dodgers. This ended what is widely believed to be the costliest divorce in California history.[25]

Dodgers' Dream Foundation scandal[edit]

In 2010, it was revealed that then California Attorney General Jerry Brown was opening an investigation into the Dodgers' charitable foundation, the Dodgers' Dream Foundation. According to tax returns, the charity's chief executive Howard Sunkin, earned a salary of nearly $400,000 per year, almost a quarter of the foundation's entire budget.[26] Sunkin is a close associate of McCourt and has worked with him during his divorce proceedings.[27] The courts eventually awarded the funds to be repaid and McCourt personally repaid $100,000.[28]

Ownership dispute with Major League Baseball, Bankruptcy and the sale of the team[edit]

In April 2011, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced that MLB would be appointing a representative to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers. His statement said that he took that action because of his "deep concerns for the finances and operations" of the Dodgers.[29] This event occurred shortly after an LA Times report that McCourt had obtained a personal loan from Fox to cover the team's payroll for April and May.

McCourt vigorously disputed MLB's actions. Nevertheless, Selig appointed former diplomat and former Texas Rangers executive Tom Schieffer to oversee the Dodgers' finances.

On June 27, the Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.[30]

After much legal wrangling between McCourt's lawyers and MLB lawyers in bankruptcy court, he reached a deal with the league to put the team up for sale.[31]

On March 27, 2012, he agreed to sell the team to a group consisting of former L.A. Laker Magic Johnson, former baseball executive Stan Kasten and the Guggenheim Partners for a record price of $2 billion, the highest ever for a professional sports team.[32] McCourt separately sold the land surrounding the stadium for $150 million to the same group, while maintaining some economic interest in the property. According to the Guggenheim Group, McCourt will have no control or influence over the land, but will profit from potential future development of it. Also, the new ownership will pay $14 million to rent the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium from an entity half-owned by McCourt.[33] The sale officially closed on May 1, 2012, ending McCourt's turbulent period as Dodgers owner.[34]

Los Angeles Marathon[edit]

In 2008, McCourt bought the operating rights to the Los Angeles Marathon.[35] McCourt's group changed the route of the Marathon so that it would start at Dodger Stadium. His "Stadium to the Sea" course revitalized the Marathon and in 2010 it drew the largest field in the history of the race.[36] During his divorce he briefly considered selling the Marathon,[37] but he chose to retain the rights and refocus on the race.[38]

Personal[edit]

Frank McCourt's grandfather was part owner of the Boston Braves along with Lou Perini and others. Inspired by his grandfather and the others formation of the Jimmy Fund,[39] Frank McCourt started ThinkCure to fight cancer.[40]

Frank and his ex-wife Jamie have four sons, Drew, Travis, Casey, and Gavin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hall, Carla (2010-08-23). "A baseball love story veers off the base paths". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Los Angeles Dodgers Executives". Losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. 2004-01-29. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  3. ^ a b "Los Angeles Business Journal, January 5, 2009". Allbusiness.com. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  4. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (2008-10-01). "For Sox owner Henry, the joy comes daily". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ Cafardo, Nick (2005-06-12). "McCourt Far from Blue". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  6. ^ Kronenberg, Jerry. "Bankruptcy filing reveals Manny Ramirez owed $21M". Boston Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Vote will be taken today". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  8. ^ Palmer Jr, Thomas C. (2006-09-01). "Hynes, Morgan Stanley buy 23 acres of Boston waterfront". The Boston Globe. 
  9. ^ "MLB Team Valuations". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2005. 
  10. ^ "#4 Los Angeles Dodgers". Forbes. 2009-04-22. 
  11. ^ "#4 Los Angeles Dodgers - Forbes.com". Forbes. 2008-04-16. 
  12. ^ "Los Angeles Dodger – Forbes rank 2010". Forbes.com. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  13. ^ Shaikin, Bill (2004-08-04). "DePodesta Didn't Overlook Choi". Los Angeles Times. 
  14. ^ "2004 League Division Series". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  15. ^ "Beltre gets 5-year deal day after Sexson signs – MLB – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2004-12-16. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  16. ^ "Dodgers move quickly after killing Unit deal – MLB – ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. 2004-12-22. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  17. ^ http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/la/news/la_news.jsp?ymd=20050112&content_id=930538&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp
  18. ^ Elliott, Helene; Shaikin, Bill (2009-10-15). "Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, wife Jamie separate". Los Angeles Times. 
  19. ^ "Dodgers name Dr. Charles Steinberg Executive Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations" (Press release). Losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  20. ^ a b Brown, Tim. "Dodgers owner separating from wife/team CEO – MLB – Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  21. ^ By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com (2010-01-14). "McCourt: Divorce won't affect Dodgers | dodgers.com: News". Losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  22. ^ "Dodgers in limbo after judge throws out McCourt property agreement" L.A. Times, December 7, 2010, by Bill Shaikin and Carla Hall
  23. ^ McCourts reach divorce settlement
  24. ^ Commish: TV deal not in Dodgers' best interests
  25. ^ Frank and Jamie McCourt reach settlement involving Dodgers
  26. ^ Thomas, Katie (2010-08-31). "Practices of Dodgers’ Charity Are Said to Be Under Scrutiny". newyorktimes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  27. ^ Thomas, Katie (2010-07-08). "Questions Arise About Executive’s Pay at Dodgers Charity". newyorktimes.com. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  28. ^ Dodgers owner Frank McCourt repaid funds to a team charity
  29. ^ Bud Selig says MLB will run Dodgers
  30. ^ "Dodgers file for bankruptcy". 
  31. ^ Frank McCourt agrees to sell Dodgers
  32. ^ "Dodgers sold to Magic Johnson group". Retrieved 2012-03-27. 
  33. ^ Shaikin, Bill (2012-05-04). "Dodgers' owners to pay $14 million a year to rent parking lots from McCourt entity". Los Angeles Times. 
  34. ^ Dodgers sale closes; McCourt era ends
  35. ^ Frank McCourt buys the rights to the LA Marathon
  36. ^ Learn more about the 27 years of the ASICS LA Marathon.
  37. ^ Frank McCourt entertains offers for the Los Angeles Marathon
  38. ^ DODGER’S SALE POTENTIAL WINDFALL FOR LA MARATHON
  39. ^ McCourt's giving it his all Charity hits home for Dodgers owner
  40. ^ "Home". ThinkCure!. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Robert A. Daly
Chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers
2004–2012
Succeeded by
Mark Walter