|Photo by Ted Soqui|
|Jamie McCourt, in 2010|
No one is crying for Jamie McCourt. The ex-wife of former Dodger owner Frank McCourt lost her bid Monday
to reopen her divorce settlement. And no one cares.
Dodger fans were once united in rooting for Jamie McCourt. Her fight was the fans' fight. But once her ex-husband was forced out as Dodger owner, that alliance collapsed.
She ended up with $131 million, which certainly seems like plenty. And even if that's only 10% of the McCourt marital estate, well, too bad.
At one time, Jamie cared a lot about the court of public opinion. She sat for profiles about the tragedy of her shattered marriage, in which her lawyers made the somewhat compelling argument that it was only fair that she get half the couple's estate.
It's not like Dodger fans ever embraced her. When the details of the McCourts' lavish spending started to emerge, they were both held in low repute. But many fans supported her as an instrument for the removal of her husband. If she succeeded in her claim that she owned 50% of the Dodgers, then Frank would have to sell.
It's hard to remember now, but Frank initially had the upper hand in that fight -- a contract that gave him sole ownership of the team. Jamie hired some of the best lawyers in the world, who managed the Herculean feat of getting that contract thrown out.
That was a huge victory for Jamie and fans alike. It prompted Major League Baseball to do everything it could to pressure Frank to sell the team. And it also put Jamie in position to take half the proceeds.
And then, at the last minute, she blinked. In October 2011, she agreed to the settlement
that guaranteed her $131 million. If you were a fan rooting for a sale of the team, this was a betrayal. At the time, Frank was still clinging desperately to ownership of the team, and the settlement seemed to slightly improve his chances. She had made a separate peace. (He finally agreed to sell about two weeks later, on terms extremely favorable to himself.)
From Jamie's point of view, it must have seemed like a good deal at the time. Recall that some were speculating that the Dodgers were so burdened with debt that Frank might end up broke after a sale. In that case, a guaranteed $131 million (tax free) would be much better than half of nothing.
But when the Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion the following March, it became apparent that Jamie made the wrong call. She then went back to court and tried to back out of the settlement, arguing that Frank had deceived her about the true value of the team.
But by that point, the fate of the Dodgers was settled and Jamie's cause was hers alone. After two and a half years of divorce drama, fans were ready to put the McCourt era behind them. (Even if it's not actually over. Under the unbelievably generous sale terms, Frank retains half ownership of the Dodger parking lots and remains business partners with the new ownership group.)
So as Jamie's claims have progressed through the courts, they have gotten almost zero attention or sympathy. Expect the same as she pursues an appeal of Judge Scott Gordon's ruling Monday, denying her claims.
It was always a fragile alliance between Jamie and Dodger fans, and it's over now.