09.27.11

McCourt New’s Defense : I Might Suck, But At Least I’m Not Jeffrey Loria

Posted in Baseball, The Law, The Marketplace at 5:46 pm by

“A Club owner must be well-capitalized and cannot use the team as a personal ‘cash cow,’ ” – that’s the gist of Bud Selig’s argument that Frank McCourt is no longer entitled to be owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and given McCourt’s history of using the Dodgers to supplement his lifestyle, it’s hard to take issue with MLB’s hopes of banishing the former parking lot magnate. However, McCourt might have a point when alleging there’s a double standard afoot — that his avaricious treatment of Dodger finances is not so different than Jeffrey Loria’s pocket-lining exercises in Miami. Except for, of course, the not so small matter of Loria not being in Selig’s doghouse.  From the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin :

Well-capitalized? McCourt never was, yet Major League Baseball approved his purchase of the Dodgers, primarily with loans from Fox and Bank of America.

MLB approved Loria’s purchase of the Marlins with a loan from the league itself, as part of Selig’s plan to steer Florida owner John Henry to the Boston Red Sox and kill the Montreal Expos.

Cash cow? Selig claims McCourt diverted more than $180 million of Dodgers revenue for personal use, an allegation McCourt denies.

Yet, Loria got more than that in revenue sharing — $198 million over six years of data compiled by the Business of Baseball website — from major-market owners under the condition that money be put into the team.

In 2006 and 2008 the Marlins reportedly took in more than twice as much from other owners as they spent on their major league payroll — and before they sold a single ticket or took in a dollar from local and national media contracts.

In 2010, one year after the Marlins got a new ballpark funded largely by public dollars, documents obtained by Deadspin showed the Marlins had turned a $38-million profit in 2008. In addition, Yahoo reported that the Marlins paid another $8 million over two years to a company controlled by Loria and the club president, David Samson.

“The swindlers who run the Florida Marlins,” Yahoo columnist Jeff Passan wrote.

Under pressure from MLB and the players’ union, the Marlins agreed last year to make sure revenue-sharing money went back into the team. Yet, Selig never threatened to kick out Loria, or the Marlins.

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