Accusations Fly in Dodgers Bankruptcy Case Filings

A busy day of filings included a win for a group of season-ticket holders who want their say in bankruptcy proceedings

A busy Monday of filings in the Dodgers' bankruptcy case included Major League Baseball allegations against team owner Frank McCourt -- accusations that featured a significant dollar amount -- and a win for a group of season-ticket holders seeking representation in the case.

The MLB's filing alleged that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt looted nearly $190 million from the Dodgers and put the money to non-baseball use, such as payment of personal debts, according to  Delaware bankruptcy court documents filed Monday.

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Using team revenue for non-baseball use is one of 10 MLB rules broken by McCourt, the league said. A violation of any league rules are grounds for termination of McCourt's franchise.

But the Dodgers, in a statement, claimed the league's commissioner supported the team's structure.

"Once again, MLB has mischaracterized the facts with inflammatory allegations that are not supported by the evidence," the statement said. "As the Commissioner knows and as our legal documents have clearly shown, he approved and praised the structure of the team about which he belatedly complains.  We look forward to the opportunity to show the truth next week in court."

The league claimed McCourt took $73 million in parking revenue through a non-team related entity, and he used $61 million in team revenue to pay personal debts. McCourt used $55 million of team revenue for personal use, according to the court documents.

"The Dodgers are in bankruptcy because McCourt has taken almost $190 million out of the club and has completely alienated the Dodgers' fan base,'' the league said in its filing.

The league has sharply criticized McCourt for his stewardship of the team, but the filing marks the first time Major League Baseball has accompanied its allegations with a dollar amount.

Another filing Monday involves the case of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, who was attacked in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after an opening day game.

Stow, who was moved from a San Francisco hospital to a rehabilitation facility this month, is likely to be a central figure at next week's scheduled bankruptcy hearing. Stow's representatives are on the official committee of Dodger creditors, which requested denial of the Dodgers' bid to auction television rights -- a key component of the team's financial future.

The league said Stow's case was an example of inadequate security at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers claimed the league has given the public a "misimpression" regarding stadium security and said the team was "on top of the situation."

The judge also allowed two season-ticket holders to have seats on the bankruptcy committee. Jeffrey Berkowitz and Susan Simons were selected to represent the interests of Dodgers season-ticket holders.


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"The season-ticket holders need a voice in these cases and they need it now," said attorney Robbin Itkin. "Our concern is that there would have been protracted litigation over the appointment of an official season ticket holders committee while significant matters are being decided in the bankruptcy cases that will determine the fate of the Dodgers franchise.  This resolution allows for the immediate participation of two season ticket holders on the Official Committee so that hopefully the perspectives and salient interests of the season-ticket holders will be represented in the actions of the Official Committee."

Attorneys for the group agreed to withdraw a motion that sought court approval of an official committee of ticket holders. The motion was opposed by the Dodgers and Major League Baseball.

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