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Shelly Sterling on track for bigger payoff than Jamie McCourt got

Shelly Sterling will make out better from Clippers sale than Jamie McCourt from Dodgers sale

When the pending divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt put ownership of the Dodgers in limbo, Jamie McCourt quickly and publicly identified herself as a co-owner of the team.

When the furor surrounding the racist comments of Donald Sterling put ownership of the Clippers in limbo, Shelly Sterling quickly and publicly identified herself as a co-owner of the team.

The Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion. The Clippers tentatively have sold for $2 billion.

It is uncertain exactly how much money each of the Sterlings might receive in sale proceeds, after paying taxes. However, it is impossible to imagine Shelly Sterling — who conducted the sale of the Clippers — walking away with $131 million.

That was what Jamie McCourt had after the Dodgers were sold.

From the moment the McCourts initiated divorce proceedings in 2009, Frank McCourt insisted he never would sell the Dodgers. He took the Dodgers into bankruptcy in 2011, and the combination of his apparent intransigence and nine-figure liabilities in debts and taxes raised the possibility that the McCourts could make nothing from a forced sale.

At the time, the record purchase price for a major league team was $845 million.

Jamie McCourt, wary of the potential for financial doom and weary of more than two years of court battles, settled the divorce in October 2011, dropping her claim to Dodgers ownership in exchange for a guaranteed $131 million.

Frank McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers little more than two weeks later. The Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion, leaving him with a profit of $1.278 billion after paying debts, taxes and his divorce settlement.

That figure did not account for the Dodgers' new owners agreeing to invest up to $650 million in a real estate development fund run by McCourt, or the agreement that McCourt could sell his interest in the Dodger Stadium parking lots to the new owners for another $150 million.

Jamie McCourt subsequently claimed she had been defrauded and asked that the divorce settlement be thrown out. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon denied that request last September. Frank McCourt since has sued his ex-wife to recover his legal costs to defend himself against that fraud claim.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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