Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The McCourt's in Court

As I sit here in court and watch Jamie and Frank McCourt duke it out over support, lawyers fees, and the like, I am floored by the numbers.  I mean - I knew they were rich, uber-rich even, but still the amount of money is absolutely mind-blowing. 

They lived in seven lavish homes; they flew in private jets; and they had hair stylists come to their house every day (my thought: oh my Gosh!).

HE spent $80,000 recently on a Caribbean vacation. Of course they also tried poking fun Jamie saying that she uses one home in Holmby Hills exclusively for swimming, another is used to store furniture, while a third in Malibu for laundry only. Whether you believe Frank is a poor billionaire or that Jamie spends like a drunken sailor, watching this all play out in court is barely palatable compared to the bigger issues at stake in other courtrooms. 

Dennis Wasser, Jamie’s divorce lawyer, began his argument in court with a Passover type question: Why is this case different from all other cases?  He answered his own question by talking about all the zeros.  First noting that the magnitude of the money - and the number of attorneys involved in the case - did make it different, he then added that it was in most other ways just like any other divorce case. That is, “the same rules apply,” he said.

Lots of zeros can make lots of difference. It will make a particularly big difference to the charities and organizations that the McCourts support. We heard all about perks and spousal support, but never heard about how their charities or social work would be affected (except for his two college projects: MIT and Georgetown). I wonder why?

Suprisingly, there is some good charity work in McCourt's history: Frank’s Grandfather started the Jimmy Fund Foundation (to fight cancer). Frank McCourt himself started ThinkCure – another cancer-fighting nonprofit. He is also a big contributor to the Dodger Dream Foundation (created to provide educational, athletic and recreational opportunities for the youth of the greater LA community). So what will happen to the funding of these organizations in all this mess? I guess that is not as important as NetJets and luxury suites.

Jamie asked for – get this! – about a million a month in temporary spousal support. Is she SERIOUS!? Some examples of monthly expenses: $25,000 monthly for spa treatments, $2,500 for weekly pedicures, and $10,000 for daily household expenses, including shopping trips to Rodeo Drive. The future court date was set for August 30 -- so I guess we’ll see what happens. 

The court proceedings were interrupted by what would appear to be more serious issues like when a father found out he was being forbidden from seeing his daughter for five years and broke out in screams; and another time when LA County Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon received a request for a restraining order in a domestic-violence case. 

Of course for most out there in the larger public the BIG issue -- which will have repercussions for Major League Baseball -- is whether Jamie is actually going to be a co-owner of the Dodgers, as she contends, or not. Bottom line is: I could do a lot more with the the close to 1 million that Jamie is requesting in support! 


Anonymous said...

have you looked into what charities Jamie McCourt gives money or time to? She may have reason, beyond living the lifestyle she's accustomed to, and the "because it's right" argument to ask for the money she's asking for...

she is a philanthropist for many jewish causes and has received awards for her support. sponsored the 2009 maccabiah games, is a trustee for LA museum of art, was recently appointed a trustee for USC.

there are some great things that frank & jamie did together as a couple. they purchased a floundering LA marathon together (which sold out early this year) and they both had the dream of owning a professional baseball team (and have brought the LA Dodgers back!).

the sad thing of divorce is that no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. it is difficult to judge from the outside looking in.

they have boatloads of money. they've been married for a long time. they've done a lot of good with the money they have. they both have impressive resumes. they both deserve a fair share.

Anonymous said...

2,500. a week to get your nails done!? A million dollars a month in support?? Geez,I'm in the wrong damn business! Good column, Robin... I felt like I was right in the court room. (And I wanna know more about the Dad with no visitation for 5 years who screamed!)

Posted by Diane Dimond