Below, you'll find the term sheet signed this morning by both Frank and Jamie McCourt, in which the warring couple agrees to a settlement. Peruse through it at your leisure, but here are the two major outstanding questions, resolution of which will set the franchise's course over the months and years to come.
1. Will Major League Baseball approve the Fox deal?
The key to the settlement agreement is MLB's approval of a near-$400 million TV rights deal with Fox. Of that money, $10 million would go to Jamie directly, $50 million would be placed in a lock box (more on that in a moment), and about $80 million would go to paying off debt on Dodgers land.
Baseball has been reluctant to approve the deal, which formerly did not have Jamie McCourt's approval. Her newly given consent, however, does not mean MLB will automatically rubber-stamp the deal. Baseball is still investigating Dodgers finances and operations, and will not approve the deal until and unless it deems the franchise to be in good hands.
If Baseball does not approve the deal by June 30, the club is in danger of missing payroll. Should that happen, Baseball seems likely to meet the Dodgers' financial obligations and fully seize the team. I will be writing more about the considerations going into Baseball's decision this afternoon, but suffice it to say it is far from a slam dunk. Oddly, should Baseball block the deal, Frank and Jamie will find themselves allies in litigation, after twenty months of opposition.
2. Pending MLB approval of the deal, there will be a one-day trial on August 4 to characterize the Dodgers assets at Frank's separate property or the marital estate's community property.
Once feared to last weeks and weeks, the final litigation in the McCourt divorce will take just one day, as Judge Gordon determines whether the Dodgers being titled in Frank's name alone is a basis sufficient to characterize the team as his separate property. From there, it's pretty easy:
If Frank wins: He keeps the team, hands over the $50 from the lock box, and pays Jamie $45 million within two years of Judge Gordon's ruling. Importantly, he also indemnifies Jamie from any tax liability associated with the team. Jamie gets her money, has no claim to the Dodgers, and the club moves forward owned solely by Frank McCourt.
If Jamie wins: The team will be sold and the assets divided. End of story.
Much more as the story develops, including expanded thoughts on the meaning of the shortened trial. The takeaway is that Commissioner Selig is now the most important figure in the McCourt divorce. His decision to allow or block the Fox transaction will clear the path for this story to be over by the end of the Summer.
Yankees Notes: Kuroda, Bullpen, Adams
7 minutes ago