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McCourt: Wife concerned about nest egg

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[September 03, 2010]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt was more concerned with protecting the couple's luxurious homes than dealing with baseball matters and didn't want to take the risk associated with buying one of baseball's most storied franchises six years ago, her estranged husband said.

Frank McCourt is scheduled to take the stand again Friday for his fourth day of testimony in the couple's divorce trial.

He testified Thursday that Jamie McCourt only started representing herself as a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer when her marriage was on the ropes. He told the court that a postnuptial agreement signed by the couple in March 2004 was created to give his wife protection from his creditors, while giving him the ability to run his businesses -- one of which was the then-recently purchased Dodgers.

McCourt bought the Dodgers in what he called a risky deal for about $430 million, a majority of which was funded with loans that needed to be refinanced within two years.

Nursing Homes

"She said to me repeatedly, 'You can make a billion dollars, you can lose a billion dollars. I want my own nest egg,'" McCourt, 57, said.

His testimony cuts to the heart of the dispute that could decide who owns the team. He contends that the agreement gives him sole ownership of the Dodgers, the stadium and the surrounding property, worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Jamie McCourt believes the agreement should be thrown out and those assets should be split evenly under California's community property law.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon will have to decide whether the 10-page agreement is valid. He also could order the sale of the Dodgers.

Jamie McCourt eventually became the team's CEO, but her husband fired her last year. In court documents, he accused her of having an affair with her bodyguard-driver and not meeting job expectations.

McCourt also said he never told anyone that his wife was co-owner, a claim she began making last summer. Around the same time, McCourt was considering changing the agreement to make the Dodgers community property, but held off for nine months before deciding against it.

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"I love my wife. It's simple as that," said McCourt, recounting a July 2009 conversation with an estate-planning attorney. "She was trying very hard to convince me to sign the documents. She basically put the marriage on the line."

To make matters confusing, three copies of the agreement list the Dodgers under McCourt's separate assets, while three other versions do not. Her attorneys have alleged that a family attorney, at some point, replaced the three versions that excluded the Dodgers from McCourt's assets with the three that included the team as his property.

Her lawyers have even suggested McCourt knew about the switch and committed fraud, something he vehemently denied Thursday.

"Needless to say, I was extremely upset about that allegation," he said.

[Associated Press; By GREG RISLING]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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