LOS ANGELES (CN) – In the divorce battle over ownership of the Dodgers, Frank McCourt testified late last week that his wife demanded $250 million after she realized that the Dodgers might not be part of any settlement.
Frank McCourt was called to the witness chair by David Boies who represents wife Jamie McCourt. Boies asked if Frank knew his wife could financially support herself while paying off her mortgages.
He replied that she need to make a “lifestyle choice.”
One focus in the lawyer’s examination was a marital property agreement that went through a number of versions. One of those versions left the the Dodgers off the list of Frank’s separate assets and Frank nevertheless signed it.
“Before you signed this document, did you read it all the way through?” Boies asked.
Frank McCourt replied no.
“Because if you have read it all the way through,” Boies continued. “You have seen that it has excluded the Dodgers from your separate assets.”
“I don’t ever recall agreeing on what you said, sir,” Frank McCourt replied.
Frank McCourt continued to avoid a direct answer to Boies’s question on the Marital Property Agreement by asking him to clarify what version of the agreement he was referring to and which part of the agreement he was asking about.
Ultimately, Boies was able to get his answer. “If you isolate just this paper,” said Frank, “then I would answer, yes.”
Frank also testified that Jamie did not say until relatively late in the relationship, in 2008, that the Dodgers were his property.
Boies moved on to the Marital Property Agreement “switcheroo,” as one of the lawyers referred to it.
As part of a series of marital property agreements signed by the two parties, one of the agreements apparently contained a crucial mistake in that it excluded the Dodgers from Frank’s separate assets. So an attorney switched an older version of the agreement into a current version in an effort to correct the error, according to both parties.
Boies asked Frank whether he noticed anything odd about the California version of the agreement, which contained the switched-in pages.
Frank McCourt answered that although he wondered why there was no signature indentation on one of the pages, he thought it might have been because the pages below the signature page had been folded.
“I thought that the California version would be perfect,” Frank said.
Frank told Boies that he first learned that his wife’s lawyers were questioning the authenticity of the California version in April 2008.
“I was approaching from the vantage that I was outraged at the allegations made against me,” Frank said.
Boies then asked Frank whether he thought his attorney did the right thing when he switched the California version of the Marital Property Agreement after he found out that he accidentally excluded the Dodgers from Frank McCourt’s separate asset.
“He was doing the right thing in my opinion,” Frank testified. “But he should’ve told me.”
When Boies grilled Frank on whether he personally would have switched an agreement with another company if he found a mistake in it, Frank’s lawyer Steve Susman objected, saying Boies was asking for speculation on things Frank had not done.
Moving back to broader issues, Frank testified that it was his wife who was contemplating divorce in 2008.
At this point, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon told Boies to ask questions that concentrate on “focused, narrow issues.”
Boies then raised the issue of whether Mrs. McCourt was capable of paying off the mortgages while sustaining her current lifestyle.
“It’s a lifestyle choice she has to make,” Frank said. “She can have eight homes and lots of debts, five homes and no debt, or no homes and all that money in the bank.”
Frank further said that she can’t possibly continue her celebrity lifestyle.
Jamie followed her husband to the witness chair.
Boies started her examination by highlighting her law degree from University of Maryland School of Law and business degree from MIT, and moved on to the time of McCourts’ Dodgers acquisition.
“The prospect of owning a sports team, particularly the one that our family loved was exciting,” Jamie McCourt said. “The opportunity to acquire a sports team was a dream come true, particularly for us.”
As the day was coming to an end, Boies asked her whether Dodgers acquisition affected their marriage and what it meant for her.
“Frank and I worked together and grew together … without remembering what that means? Preposterous,” Jamie McCourt replied. “There’s no question that everything was committed to this purchase.”