Report: Dodgers denied access to docs
A federal bankruptcy judge on Friday denied Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's attempts to have documents relating to Major League Baseball's other 29 teams added into evidence.
McCourt, who continues to fight MLB in an effort to hold on to his cash-strapped franchise, had been hoping to use the documents to prove MLB commissioner Bud Selig has treated the Dodgers unfairly, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross ruled Friday the "actions of other teams do not bear upon" the Dodgers' current financial crisis.
"The Court's focus is and shall remain on [the Dodgers] and Mr. McCourt, on the one hand, and the Commissioner on the other," Gross wrote in his ruling. "The discovery [the team] seeks would improperly shift the spotlight to the other 29 teams."
According to the Times, Gross did leave the door open to limited discovery, saying MLB must prove why Selig chose to reject a proposed 17-year, $2.7 billion television rights deal with FOX Sports, which McCourt said was vital to rescuing the team.
"Should the Commissioner falter in proving alleged wrongdoing, the Court may allow [the Dodgers] to take further, limited discovery," Gross wrote.
In a statement released after Friday's ruling, the Dodgers said, "We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate that Commissioner Selig has not acted in good faith with respect to the Dodgers, and that the Dodgers have fully complied with the Baseball Agreements and have not engaged in any wrongdoing."
Despite this sliver of hope, the denial to access the records of other teams served as the latest setback for McCourt, who said the discovery was critical to proving MLB has treated the Dodgers differently than other franchises.
McCourt filed for bankruptcy in June in an apparent last-ditch effort to keep Selig from seizing the team.
MLB has asked Gross to order the immediate sale of the Dodgers so the team can emerge from bankruptcy under new ownership and with the financial stability necessary to prepare for the 2012 season and beyond.
McCourt has proposed an auction of the team's television rights as part of his reorganization plan to hold on to the ballclub. But FOX Sports sued the team last month in an attempt to block any rights deal that does not abide by the terms of its current contract, including the network's exclusive negotiating rights through November 2012.
FOX Sports is owned by News Corp., which also owns NewsCore.