Frank McCourt bid farewell to his manager Saturday. The new owners of the Dodgers met with the players Sunday, in advance of an anticipated news conference Tuesday.
All of the activity revolved around the expected closing of the Dodgers’ sale Monday. However, the deal did not close on schedule, leaving McCourt with ownership of the team for what appeared to be one final night.
The closing now is expected to occur Tuesday morning, according to three people familiar with the sale process. The sale does not appear to be in jeopardy, the people said.
The failure to close the sale came at the end of a day of meetings among attorneys for McCourt, MLB and Guggenheim Baseball, the incoming owners. The delay involved the approval of documents that had not been cleared by the court-appointed mediator supervising the sale, the people said.
McCourt did meet a Monday deadline to pay a $131-million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Jamie, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to comment, eliminating the possibility that she could intervene in the sale process. Frank McCourt, who agreed to sell the Dodgers for a record $2.15 billion, could clear close to $1 billion in net profit.
However, according to the divorce settlement, Jamie McCourt need not pay taxes on the $131 million and Frank McCourt cannot deduct the amount from his taxes.
With the closing expected to occur Tuesday, the payment of the divorce settlement was authorized from the proceeds of the Dodgers’ sale. The rest of the sale funds awaited transfer from Guggenheim to Frank McCourt on Tuesday.
The court-approved sale agreement between Frank McCourt and MLB called for the sale of the Dodgers “to be consummated no later than April 30.”
The court has the authority to intervene and could in theory start the sale process anew, although the court-appointed mediator effectively has controlled the process for five weeks in an effort to shepherd a deal to conclusion. The mediator, retired federal judge Joseph Farnan, has been in Los Angeles for one week to supervise the closing procedures, according to a person familiar with the sale.
On Sunday, as the Dodgers played what was expected to be their final home game before the ownership transition, incoming controlling owner Mark Walter and incoming club president Stan Kasten were among the Guggenheim Baseball executives to meet with the players.
“It’s cool to put names to the faces,” said Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. “It sounds like they’re very committed, which is always awesome to hear from your ownership.
“He [Kasten] kept talking about winning, so that was another common goal of ours. It’s always good to get familiar with your bosses. It’s definitely good to see they have the right intentions.”
Kershaw said he took the new owners at their word.
“I think there was a sincerity about it,” Kershaw said. “Obviously, everybody wants to win. But what are you going to do about it? It sounds like they’re committed to doing whatever it takes to make us win. It’s a good feeling.”
On Saturday, as the Dodgers’ staff made plans for the now-postponed news conference to introduce the new owners, the outgoing owner spent a few minutes with Manager Don Mattingly.
Mattingly got his first managing job with the support of McCourt, without managing a day in the minor leagues. The Dodgers have the best record in the National League, but McCourt never did lead the Dodgers to the World Series.
“I just kind of said goodbye,” Mattingly said. “He seemed kind of down, really. Things obviously worked out financially, but it still can’t be what you really came for. At the end, you want to win a championship.”
Shaikin reported from Los Angeles. Hernandez reported from Denver.