Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has rejected Frank McCourt's multi-billion dollar TV deal with Fox, in effect nullifying the McCourts' proposed divorce settlement and keeping the Dodgers in limbo for the time being.
Selig's move, which occurred on the first business day after the McCourts made their settlement and was not unexpected, is a body-blow to Frank McCourt in his efforts to keep the storied National League franchise. The deal, which is estimated to be worth up to $3 billion, included a $358 million loan intended to get the McCourts out of financial trouble.
In a statement released by MLB, Selig said, ""Mr. McCourt has been provided with an expansive analysis of my reasons for rejecting this proposed transaction. Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt. Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.
"As I have said before, we owe it to the legion of loyal Dodger fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future. This transaction would not accomplish these goals."
Selig has long been known to disapprove of McCourt's excessive spending on personal items while running out of money to pay his Dodgers bills. The commissioner is also opposed to owners taking loans on future TV deals in order to pay past bills. McCourt's divorce settlement was contingent on Selig's approval and could cause McCourt to try to sue baseball.
McCourt is said by sources to be quickly running out of cash and in serious jeopardy of failing to meet the Dodgers' June 30 payroll, which includes a deferred payment of $8 million to Manny Ramirez, who hasn't played for the Dodgers since last August and is now retired. Selig could be hoping to make a case for a change of ownership based on McCourt's failure to pay his bills. MLB would meet the team's payroll if McCourt is unable to do so.