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The McCourt divorce "merry-go-round" spins in New York

Was Frank McCourt hiding a mega-asset from his former wife during the couple's divorce? Jamie McCourt believes her ex-husband, the one-time owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, underreported assets in the divorce settlement by more than $1 billion.

It would be an understatement to say the McCourt's high-profile divorce has been contentious. The couple's court battles began long before the final divorce settlement early last year. Litigation continues today on the West Coast and in New York.

Jamie McCourt walked away from the marriage with about $131 million. Frank McCourt listed $300 million in assets in the divorce agreement, just a few months before the Dodgers were sold for over $2 billion. Jamie McCourt's ex-husband made $1.7 billion on the deal.

Frank McCourt's ex-wife petitioned a Los Angeles court to throw out the divorce settlement on fraud allegations. A Manhattan court became caught up in the litigation when Jamie McCourt requested depositions from her ex's financial consultants at Blackstone Advisory Partners, LP.

The New York State Supreme Court ordered a Blackstone executive to provide written testimony for a California hearing this month. The senior managing director could not be forced to attend the hearing since he lives out of state. Instead, the money manager was ordered to supply written responses to as many as 25 questions about the McCourt case.

The Manhattan judge granted Jamie McCourt's third request for the depositions, hoping to prevent additional litigation and "get everyone off the merry-go-round."

Frank McCourt denied that Blackstone ever discussed the expected value of the Dodgers sale with him. Jamie McCourt thinks her ex-husband lied. The Blackstone executive stated publicly that the baseball team's sale was not more than Frank McCourt "anticipated."

Divorce attorneys help clients understand the clear difference between separate and marital property before a settlement is finalized. Judges rarely overturn divorce agreements, although fraud would be a valid reason to make an exception.

Source: bloomberg.com, "Blackstone's Cohen Must Answer Queries in McCourt Divorce," Chris Dolmetsch, March 28, 2013

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