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Despite Settlement, Dodgers Circus Could Drag On

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(CBSSports.com/Danny Knobler) – The feuding McCourts reached agreement on a divorce settlement early Friday morning.

Great. So we’re done with them?

Think again.

First off, the settlement is contingent on baseball approving the long-term television deal Frank McCourt agreed to with Fox television. That approval is unlikely to come, even though by the terms of the settlement deal Jamie McCourt agrees not to challenge the TV deal herself.

There had been speculation that a possible Jamie McCourt challenge was one of baseball’s main issues with the prospective Fox deal, because of a fear that she could step in as possible co-owner and try to block it. But according to sources, baseball has other other issues (such as whether it represents true market value) that commissioner Bud Selig considers more significant than whether Jamie McCourt would challenge it.

Again, it’s highly unlikely that baseball approves the deal, which would make Friday’s settlement “null and void,” according to the document posted below.

» Binding Term Sheet
» Stipulation and Order Re Approval of FOX Transaction
Without the TV deal (which according to the court document includes a $385 million loan), not only is the settlement in jeopardy, but Frank McCourt is still in serious danger of running so low on cash that he can’t meet the June 30 Dodger payroll. If he can’t pay, baseball will, but that would almost certainly mean that baseball would take control of the team and force a sale.

The settlement provides for a one-day trial to determine whether Frank McCourt owns the team, or whether the Dodgers are community property, which would give Jamie McCourt a 50 percent stake. If the court determines that Frank McCourt owns the team by himself, the settlement provides for him to pay Jamie $100 million.

But remember, the settlement deal is “null and void” if Selig doesn’t approve the TV deal, and he isn’t expected to approve it.

So this isn’t over, no matter how great that word “settlement” sounds to everyone who is tired of this circus.

Maybe it gets closer to an end on June 30. Maybe it drags on all summer, or into next summer.

There’s no way to know that yet. All we know is it’s not over.

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