Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig stripped Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt of financial control of the club today, saying he would appoint a trustee to oversee the team’s business affairs while investigating the "operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities."
Selig intervened after McCourt required a $30-million loan from Fox last week in order to meet the team’s first payroll of the season.
Selig said he would identify the trustee "in the next several days."
McCourt has been under financial pressure since at least 2009, when he was rebuffed in at least three attempts to gain additional financing, according to court documents filed in his divorce case.
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Season ticket sales have fallen from 27,000 in 2007 to just more than 17,000 this season, according to court documents and baseball sources.
The divorce remains unresolved, and Selig has neither approved nor rejected a proposed 20-year television contract with Fox that McCourt presented as a long-term solution to settle the divorce, manage the Dodgers’ debts and improve the team and the stadium. The Dodgers had more than $430 million in long-term debt as of 2009, according to court records.
Selig’s complete statement:
"Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club. I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days. The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future."