Boise, ID- The ex-wife of former LA Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has lost her bid to get a larger divorce settlement after an appeals court found there was no basis to her claims that she was cheated out of her share of the team’s sale.
Tuesday’s ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeals marks the end of a divorce battle between Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt that began in 2009, when the couple split. At that time, the Dodgers were facing financial ruin, which some attributed to the lavish spending and extravagant lifestyle of the McCourts.
With his marriage and Dodgers’ financing in shambles, Frank McCourt pushed the team into bankruptcy, and offered his wife what seemed like a sweet settlement amount of $160 million dollars. That’s half the amount Frank McCourt estimated the team would generate from its bankruptcy sale and broadcast deals. Jamie McCourt, in spite of advice from her divorce attorney, accepted the offer, which ended up being a big and costly mistake.
She appealed the $160 or so settlement, alleging that her ex-husband was dishonest with about the true value of the Dodgers. He eventually earned $2.4 billion out of the deal. Had Jamie McCourt listened to her attorney, she would gotten half of the team’s overall proceeds since it was considered both their property.
The Idaho Statesman reports that the appeals court found no basis in Jamie McCourt’s assertion that her ex was deceptive about the Dodgers’ value and upheld the original divorce settlement. What’s more, Jamie McCourt was ordered to reimburse her ex-husband for the $1.9 million in legal fees he spent on challenging her lawsuit.
“Jamie simply chose the security of a guaranteed $131 million payment, plus more than $50 million in real and personal property, over the uncertainty and risk presented by the valuation and sale of the Dodger assets,” the ruling stated, according to the Idaho Statesman.
There are two lessons to be learned from Jamie McCourt’s mistake in accepting a settlement too soon. For one, listen to your Idaho divorce attorney. If they tell you to hold out for a better settlement then you hold out for a better settlement. You hired them for their expert advice and knowledge so follow it and trust they are working in your best interest.
The second lesson to be learned from the McCourt divorce is to fully vet your estranged spouse’s assets before accepting a settlement. We don’t or think that Frank McCourt was being dishonest with his estranged wife when he seriously low-balled the value of the Dodgers. But being dishonest about the value of assets is not uncommon when couples, especially wealthy ones, are engaged in an ugly dissolution. It’s easier than you think for person to cover up their assets. Aside from getting good advice, one of the other advantages of having an Idaho divorce attorney is that they have the resources to find assets that have been hidden.