Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/13/12
WILMINGTON, Del. The sale of the Dodgers to a group fronted by Lakers icon Magic Johnson was approved in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday, despite strong objections from Major League Baseball. In six hours of tense and contentious arguments, MLB tried to re-assert control over the Dodgers, saying the Commissioner Bud Selig should have control moving forward just as he would over any other team. The Dodgers argued many of those decisions still belonged with the court under terms of a settlement reached earlier between MLB and outgoing owner Frank McCourt when he agreed to sell. MLB attorney Thomas Lauria said the league was not trying to block the sale but wanted more information and time to review the deal because a number of the sales conditions appeared to be inconsistent with MLB rules. He also repeatedly complained that the recourse of a mediator enjoyed by the Dodgers was not fair to other owners. We dont want a league of the the Dodgers and 29 other teams, Lauria said. In the end, Judge Kevin Gross sided with the Dodgers, confirming the post-sale role of mediator Joseph Farnan and saying he himself would rule on parking lot issues. He also said the Dodgers would not have recourse to mediator for matters not specifically cited in settlement -- that is, most MLB rules. Lauria said MLB had several issues and questions about the sales agreement most pointedly regarding the structure of the new ownership group and the deal that had been struck with McCourt about the use of the land surrounding Dodger Stadium. Lauria said MLB requested but had not received documentation regarding a joint venture between McCourt and the new owners, Guggenheim Baseball Management, about the stadiums parking lots. The league had also asked for commitment letters from the ownership groups equity partners, the delivery of which mediator Farnan ordered on Friday. Dodgers attorney Bruce Bennett said the league had manufactured issues and implied that it may have been out of spite directed toward McCourt. He also said Farnan had found MLB to be a serial violator of the settlement agreement and thats why the league wanted to end the mediators jurisdiction. The contentious debate seemed to surprise Judge Gross, who, as arguments grew tense, quipped, I had no idea. I thought this was going to be a celebration-type occasion. The sale is set to close by April 30. If the deal closes as scheduled, the Dodgers would play their first home game under new ownership May 7, against the rival San Francisco Giants. McCourt took the Dodgers into bankruptcy 291 days ago, three days away from running out of cash to pay his players. Although he said he intended to retain ownership when the Dodgers emerged from bankruptcy, his surrender was rewarded with a handsome profit. McCourt sold the Dodgers to the Guggenheim group for 2.15 billion, a record for a sports franchise. He retains half-ownership in the Dodger Stadium parking lots, and he is expected to net close to 1 billion in profit. While Johnson will be the new face of Dodgers ownership, veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten will be the team president. Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, is an ally of Commissioner Selig. Selig all but kicked McCourt out of baseball, rejecting a proposed television contract that would have given him a financial lifeline and charging him in court papers with looting 189 million from the Dodgers and diverting it for personal use. McCourt denied the allegation. The Dodgers new controlling owner will be Mark Walter, chief executive of Chicago-based Guggenheim Financial, a company that says it manages 125 billion in assets. The purchase of the Dodgers -- all cash, save for 412 million worth of team debt assumed by the new owners -- is being financed by a mix of individual and institutional investors, the latter primarily from Guggenheim-managed insurance funds. The individual investors include Walter, Johnson, Guggenheim President Todd Boehly, Hollywood executive and Golden State Warriors co-owner Peter Guber, and Texas energy investor Bobby Patton. Walter, Kasten and Johnson were all in court on Friday, as was McCourt. Walter has declined to specify the stakes of each individual owner or say what percentage of the purchase is being financed by institutional funds, other than to say the ratio of individual and institutional investors is likely to be fairly balanced. Guggenheim is expected to add individual investors from the Los Angeles area after the deal closes. McCourt and Guggenheim are forming a joint venture to own the Dodger Stadium parking lots. The money a fan pays to park at Dodger Stadium will be collected by the new owners, but neither McCourt nor Guggenheim has explained how the parties will divide the revenue the team generates from the parking lots. And, although people familiar with the sale agreement say no development can take place on the parking lots unless McCourt and Guggenheim agree, neither party has shared a vision for the future of the property. McCourt separated the team from the parking lots in 2005 and established a new entity to control the lots, in a transaction approved by Major League Baseball. That approval left MLB powerless when McCourt said he wanted to sell the team but keep the land, since the entity that controls the parking lots was not part of the bankruptcy filing. McCourt bought the Dodgers for 421 million in 2004, with what his divorce attorney said was not a penny of his own cash. He ultimately parlayed ownership of Boston parking lots into ownership of one of the worlds most prestigious sports franchises, and then into nearly a billion dollars.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tennessee grocery store calls for Butch Jones' firing with amazing cake

Giants owner: McAdoo was not pressured to give up play-calling

Report: Red Sox to name Alex Cora manager after ALCS

The New York Yankees have taken complete control

Cam Newton skips press conference, but why?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Green unlikely to play Friday, but knee MRI came back clean

Tyson says he hated ‘Punch-Out’ when it first came out

Nike's ‘SB51 Comeback’ sneakers made from official footballs

Report: Hayward could return in March in best-case scenario

Teddy Bridgewater believes he will ‘definitely’ play in 2017

Mark Cuban tried to pitch NBA on getting rid of draft

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker