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McCourts Reach Divorce Settlement

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Frank and Jamie McCourt announced Monday that they have reached a divorce settlement over ownership of the Dodgers, ending what is believed to be the costliest marital split in California history.

“The terms of the settlement, which is already in effect, will remain private,” according to a joint statement issued by the McCourts. “Jamie will be withdrawing her opposition to the Dodgers proposed sale of media rights and instead will be filing papers in support of the process proposed by the Dodgers.”

Although terms of the settlement were not divulged, the Los Angeles Times reported that Jamie McCourt would receive about $130 million and relinquish any claim to a share of the team.

The accord also removes Jamie McCourt as an obstacle to Frank McCourt’s plan to retain ownership of the team by selling the Dodgers’ television rights in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The media-rights issue is being debated in the team’s bankruptcy case in Delaware, with Frank McCourt going head-to-head with Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig over the arrangement.

Selig has asked the Bankruptcy Court to order the Dodgers sold. For Frank McCourt to keep the team, he likely needs U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross to deny Selig’s request and to grant an auction of the Dodgers’ television rights, over the objections of Selig and Fox Sports.

However, in the absence of the divorce settlement, Frank McCourt could not have kept the team without defeating Selig in Bankruptcy Court, then defeating his ex-wife in divorce court on the issue of whether the Dodgers were community property.

It remains uncertain whether the Bankruptcy Court would allow McCourt to use money from a television deal to satisfy a divorce settlement — Selig refused to do so — or whether the net proceeds of a sale of the team would exceed $130 million.

According to court filings reviewed by The Times, the McCourts incurred $20.6 million in legal bills related to the divorce through July.

Settling the dispute over whether the Dodgers were the sole property of Frank McCourt or community property could have added at least $14 million to those bills, based on estimates in a filing on behalf of Jamie McCourt, according to The Times.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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