The Frank McCourt years with the Dodgers: 2004-2011

Jan. 29, 2004: Major League Baseball unanimously approves the sale of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt for $421 million from News Corp. It is a leveraged deal financed mostly by debt. McCourt’s attorney, Steve Susman, says at divorce trial in 2010 that McCourt put “not a penny” of his own cash into deal. In McCourt’s first season, the Dodgers win 93 games and the National League West title for the first time since 1995.

2006: The Dodgers win the NL wild-card spot with an 88-74 record. They are swept by the New York Mets in the first round of the playoffs.

October 2007: Grady Little resigns as manager of the Dodgers and is replaced by former Yankees manager Joe Torre.


2008: Dodgers finish 84-78 in their first season under Torre and lose to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Championship Series.

Oct. 14, 2009: On the eve of Game 1 of the NLCS (Dodgers lose to the Phillies again), Frank and Jamie McCourt announce that they are separating after nearly 30 years of marriage. No reason is given for the separation. The announcement overshadows the Dodgers’ playing in the NLCS in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1977-78.

Oct. 16, 2009: Frank and Jamie McCourt each declare they own the Dodgers, with Frank saying he owns 100% of the team and Jamie saying she owns half.

Oct. 22, 2009: Frank McCourt fires Jamie as chief executive of the team. Frank sends his estranged wife a letter asking her to contact human relations to arrange a time to return to her office and gather her belongings.

Oct. 24, 2009: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig says baseball will monitor the ownership dispute, but he doesn’t expect it to have a major impact on the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers.

Oct. 27, 2009: Jamie McCourt officially files for divorce from Frank McCourt and asks the court to reinstate her as CEO.

Dec. 7, 2010: The judge in the divorce case invalidates the post-nuptial marital property agreement that Frank McCourt had claimed provided him with sole ownership of the Dodgers. Frank McCourt’s lawyers said that Frank would use other legal avenues to establish his sole ownership of the Dodgers, while Jamie McCourt’s lawyers said that Jamie would be confirmed as the co-owner of the team as community property of their marriage.

Sept. 1, 2010: The Dodgers Dream Foundation comes under investigation by the California attorney general’s office for payments it made to club executive Howard Sunkin. According to tax returns, Sunkin, the charity’s chief executive, earned a salary of nearly $400,000 a year, almost a quarter of the foundation’s budget.

March 31, 2011: Bryan Stow is attacked in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the Dodgers’ home opener against the San Francisco Giants. Stow, wearing Giants memorabilia, is attacked from behind by two unidentified men and remains in a medically induced coma.

April 19, 2011: Dodgers say they have repaid the amount of Sunkin’s bonus to the Dream Foundation.

April 20, 2011: Selig says he will appoint a trustee to assume immediate day-to-day operation of the Dodgers, effectively removing Frank McCourt from power.

June 17, 2011: Frank and Jamie McCourt announce that they have come to an agreement over ownership of the team and terms of the divorce, with contingencies. The first of those is that Selig must approve a long-term television contract between the Dodgers and Fox.

June 20, 2011: Selig rejects the TV deal with Fox, nullifying all terms of the agreement the McCourts had settled on three days earlier.

June 27, 2011: The Dodgers, with a payroll of an estimated $30 million due at the end of the week, file for bankruptcy protection, further throwing the ownership of the team into question.

June 28, 2011: A Delaware judge clears the way for Frank McCourt to borrow $150 million from a hedge fund to cover his looming bills, keeping him in charge for now.

July 7, 2011: The bankruptcy judge rejects the Dodgers’ demands to depose Selig and obtain a wide range of documents about other teams’ financial, security and television deals.

July 18, 2011: Frank McCourt would be signing “a deal with the devil” by accepting a loan offered by a commissioner intent on stripping McCourt of his team, attorneys for the Dodgers owner argue in a Bankruptcy Court filing.

July 19, 2011: Frank McCourt and Selig head into Bankruptcy Court, with each side trying to persuade the judge not to let the other control the Dodgers’ finances.

July 22, 2011: A bankruptcy judge rules that Frank McCourt cannot use a loan he arranged to run the Dodgers for the rest of the season.

July 29, 2011: Frank and Jamie McCourt could pay more in divorce bills than the Dodgers pay any of their players, as the legal costs mount in what might well be the costliest split in state history.

Aug. 7, 2011: Dodgers likely to lose $27 million because of dramatic decline in attendance.

Sept. 15, 2011: An announced crowd of 25,381, a season low, sees the Dodgers lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-2.

Sept. 23, 2011: MLB asks a bankruptcy judge to order the sale of the Dodgers, arguing in court papers that Frank McCourt’s plan to retain ownership of the team is “dead on arrival.”

Sept. 27, 2011: Fox Sports sues the Dodgers, trying to halt the proposed television rights sale that Frank McCourt says is his key to emerging from bankruptcy as the owner.

Sept. 28, 2011: Dodgers finish the season with a winning record.

Oct. 17, 2011: Frank and Jamie McCourt reach a divorce settlement.

Oct. 24, 2011: Dodgers slash season-ticket prices, in some cases by as much as 60%. The Dodgers had ranked among the top three in tickets sold every year since 2004, when Frank McCourt bought the team.

Nov. 1, 2011: Frank McCourt agrees to sell the Dodgers. McCourt and MLB agree to seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an auction of the Dodgers. The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much. The league hopes a new Dodgers owner can be in place by opening day of 2012.

Los Angeles Times research