Update: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday appointed Tom Schieffer, the former Texas Rangers president, to monitor the Los Angeles Dodgers business and finance operations. Selig said that Schieffer would have oversight of all of the franchise's related entities.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Wednesday said that Major League Baseball was taking over the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt due to “deep concerns” over finances, security and other operational problems.
Selig said he would appoint someone to oversee all operations of the franchise, which has been hurt by questions over its financial management, fallout from the ugly, high-profile divorce of its owners and security concerns in the wake of the savage beating of a fan last month.
“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future,” Selig said in a statement. “I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the club.”
McCourt has not yet issued a response to Selig’s announcement.
Long troubled by allegations that McCourt had mismanaged the franchise and enriched himself, Selig said his office was investigating the operations and finances of the Dodgers during its ownership by McCourt, who with his estranged wife Jamie acquired the franchise in 2004.
Earlier this year, Selig rejected McCourt’s request to borrow $200 million from News Corp. subsidiary Fox Entertainment Group, which had sold the team to McCourt for $430 million. McCourt was still able to obtain a $30 million personal loan from Fox – reportedly to help meet payroll – that Selig could not block.
McCourt’s reputation was damaged by the divorce proceedings, in which stories emerged about the couple’s lavish lifestyle, apparently funded by team revenue. McCourt came under additional fire this season for allowing the family atmosphere at Dodger Stadium to deteriorate after cutting back on uniformed security. On March 31, fans wearing San Francisco Giants apparel were attacked by men wearing Dodgers apparel. One of the victims, Bryan Stow of Santa Cruz, is in a medically induced coma at a Los Angeles hospital, and two suspects remain at large.
In efforts at damage control, McCourt earlier this month hired former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton, now a private security consultant, to make recommendations on enhancing stadium safety and security. On Tuesday he brought on board respected civic and business leader Steve Soboroff as vice chairman and a new public face for the team.
“It is very unfortunate that the status of the team has come to this point,” L.A. Area Chamber Chief Executive Gary Toebben said in a statement following the announcement. "We hope that Major League Baseball and Frank McCourt will develop a plan to put the Dodgers on the road back to financial stability."
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