WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - The bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team has not paid or lent money to team owner Frank McCourt over the last two years, the team’s chief financial officer told creditors on Wednesday.
Major League Baseball has accused McCourt of siphoning more than $100 million from the team’s revenue to finance his lavish lifestyle.
Peter Wilhelm, the CFO, also told the meeting of creditors that McCourt invested $23.5 million into the Dodgers in the months leading up the bankruptcy.
The Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 protection in June after the league rejected a proposed $3 billion deal for future television rights, in part because some of that money was earmarked for McCourt’s personal use.
Wilhelm blamed the bankruptcy on a “perfect storm” of events that depleted the team’s finances, such as funding reserves required for upcoming collective bargaining talks.
The team is expected to auction its TV rights during the bankruptcy to help put its finances on a sound footing. Its lawyer, Sidney Levinson of Dewey & LeBoeuf, said he hopes the Dodgers will emerge from bankruptcy before the start of the 2012 season.
Wilhelm was meeting with creditors as required by the bankruptcy code and spent the bulk of the meeting describing the team’s web of holding companies, ticket securitization structures and various pass-through entities.
The only questions not asked by members of the U.S. Trustee’s office, which oversees bankruptcy cases, came from a lawyer representing season ticket holders.
On Tuesday, season ticket holders led by the children of famed singer Frank Sinatra filed documents suggesting they plan to take an official role in the bankruptcy proceedings.
The case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.
Reporting by Tom Hals; editing by Andre Grenon