Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has paid his major league bills — for now.
Despite baseball officials who believed he didn’t have enough money to cover the team’s end-of-the-month payroll, the embattled McCourt was able to cover Dodgers-related expenses Tuesday, said a person familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
If McCourt wasn’t able to meet payroll — a question that lingers for the remainder of the season — Major League Baseball would have taken control and paid the team’s bills.
Based on an opening-day payroll of $103.8 million, the Dodgers’ payroll for its major league roster in the second half of May was about $8.25 million. The figure includes 16 days’ salary, but not any signing bonus payments that happen to fall due.
The Los Angeles Times first reported that McCourt was able to make the payroll.
The Times, citing anonymous sources, reported last week that McCourt needed roughly $9.8 million to meet Tuesday’s payroll. His financial woes will increase in June because the Dodgers owe Manny Ramirez more than $6 million in deferred compensation, the paper said.
McCourt took a $30 million loan from Fox, the Dodgers’ television partner, prior to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s decision to appoint a monitor, former Texas Rangers President Tom Schieffer, to oversee the team’s daily operations and to examine its records.
The ability to make payroll gives McCourt more time to reach a settlement with his ex-wife and former team CEO Jamie McCourt. The McCourts are embroiled in a nasty divorce where she recently asked Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to order the sale of the team.
Gordon has ruled that a postnuptial marital agreement signed by the former couple, which gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers, was invalid and cleared the way for Jamie McCourt to seek half the team under California’s community property law.
Settlement talks are set to resume June 8.
McCourt has urged Selig to approve a 17-year contract with Fox that could be worth more than $3 billion, which would include a front-loaded payment of about $300 million.