If you had any doubt left about Frank McCourt, businessman, LA Weekly's Gene Maddaus has a story you might enjoy. From a tale full of alleged back-stabbings, several burned bridges, and an unhealthy lack of regard for the present, there emerges an interesting glimpse into the worsening troubles in the McCourt marriage:
[T]he central disagreement in the marriage apparently was between Jamie's desire for security and McCourt's appetite for risk.
"If you aren't on the same page," [Boston real estate Banker Jeff Ingram] wrote, "I sincerely hope you can have the conversation in the spirit of 'Look what we accomplished' and 'How do we want to spend our time going forward.' Please appreciate the moment and work together to determine what is best for you and your family. ... From a personal perspective, I really hope you can find a common ground."
It didn't happen. In November 2008, McCourt sent an e-mail to Ingram in which he contemplated raising an astounding $600 million in fresh equity to expand the business into a global sports enterprise. He seemed particularly excited because his two oldest sons, Drew and Travis, were onboard and eager to be seriously involved in the family business. This would prepare them for someday taking ownership of the team.
Of the $600 million, $47 million would go to the family, which McCourt thought would give Jamie more "peace of mind."
In reality, McCourt's ambitions could not have been in greater conflict with Jamie's desire for security. Ingram understood this better than anybody. In a one-line e-mail to McCourt, he wrote, "I assume you realize all eyes will be on Mama Bear to see how she embraces new direction."
In the midst of this conflict, the McCourts sat down for an estate-planning session.
There are two ways to characterize what happened next. For Jamie's part, she says didn't understand the full effect of the MPA until well after she signed it. She was shocked and scared to learn the assets would be split so unevenly in the event of divorce, and immediately began working with Frank to make the document comport with their true intentions.
This line of thinking also fits in with the portrayal of Frank as an opportunist above all else. In this sense, think of Frank McCourt as Barry Sanders, making his living by dancing behind the line, risking a loss, but possessing an uncanny knack for spotting the smallest opening and making a big gain. The problem, of course, is that when Frank McCourt wins, it's not at the expense of other teams or their fans...people get hurt.
That's one way of looking at it, anyway. I do think it's important to note that, as has become common, Frank declined to comment for this story. Presumably, he also declined to direct Maddaus to sources which might paint Frank in a more favorable light.
Though it has been to his detriment, Frank's been the much quieter of the two McCourts throughout the saga. His camp seems content to let Jamie and her support team win the headlines, which it has certainly done. It's sort of ironic. In court filings related to the divorce, Jamie says:
I know that Frank is very litigious and that he employs a 'scorched earth' litigation philosophy.I don't think Jamie's PR campaign in the divorce can be described any other way.
Which, all things considered, is fine. All's fair in love and war, they say, and we've had one turn into the other here. I believe Frank is a ruthless, cunning businessman. I believe he's made a fortune at the direct expense of personal relationships and others' well-being. I believe he might be wired to not care about these things, capable desiring only to beat the guy across the table. And I certainly believe Jamie wants us to believe these things.