DOVER, Del.—Season ticket holders on Tuesday were given an official voice in the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy case, winning two seats on the team's creditors committee.
The U.S. trustee for Delaware's bankruptcy court agreed to appoint two representatives of the season ticket holders to the Dodgers' official committee of unsecured creditors. In return, attorneys for an ad hoc group of season ticket holders withdrew a motion seeking court approval of an official committee of ticket holders.
Attorneys argued in the motion that season ticket holders had invested millions of dollars in the team and deserved an official voice in the bankruptcy, but the motion was opposed by both the Dodgers and the creditors committee.
"Our concern is that there would have been protracted litigation over the appointment of an official season ticket holders committee while significant matters are being decided in the bankruptcy cases that will determine the fate of the Dodgers franchise," Robbin Itkin, an attorney for the ticket holders, said in a statement released Tuesday. "This resolution allows for the immediate participation of two season ticket holders on the official committee so that hopefully the perspectives and salient interests of the season tickets holders will be represented in the actions of the official committee."
Meanwhile, attorneys for the Dodgers and Major League Baseball continued their war of words as they gear up for a court fight starting next week that will determine the fate of the ball club.
In a court filing Monday, attorneys for Commissioner Bud Selig reiterated accusations made in court papers last month that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had siphoned off more than $180 million in revenues from the club for personal and business obligations that had nothing to do with baseball.
""The Dodgers are in bankruptcy because Mr. McCourt has taken almost $190 million out of the club and has completely alienated the Dodgers' fan base," wrote attorneys for Selig, arguing that the money had been "looted."
The Dodgers released a statement claiming the league had again "mischaracterized the facts with inflammatory allegations that are not supported by the evidence."
"As the commissioner knows and as our legal documents have clearly shown, he approved and praised the structure of the team about which he belatedly complains," the statement read. "We look forward to the opportunity to show the truth next week in court."
In their own court filings, Dodgers attorneys renewed their attacks on Selig, accusing him of deliberately starving the club of needed cash and destroying the reputation of the team and its management in an effort to seize control and force a sale of the Dodgers.
The Dodgers sought bankruptcy protection in June, blaming Selig for refusing to approve a renegotiated multibillion-dollar TV deal with Fox Sports that McCourt was counting on to keep the franchise afloat.
The Dodgers are now asking Judge Kevin Gross to approve an auction of the team's television rights as the best path to exit bankruptcy. But the league is asking for permission to file its own reorganization plan for the Dodgers, which calls for the team to be sold.
Gross has scheduled four days of hearings starting Monday to consider the dueling motions.
Attorneys for Selig argue that any plan by the Dodgers to sell television rights without the league's approval is "dead on arrival" and would spell the end of the ball club. They argue that such a sale would breach the Dodgers' existing contract with Fox Sports, leaving the team subject to substantial legal claims, while also providing grounds for termination from the league for failure to abide by its covenants.