California Attorney changed postnup, didn't tell McCourts

By Greg Risling

Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) § A lawyer for Jamie and Frank McCourt says he corrected a "mistake" in the agreement at the center of the nasty divorce of the owners of the Dodgers, their stadium and the surrounding property.

Larry Silverstein testified that he didn't tell the couple about the critical change he made to a postnuptial marital agreement the day before they signed it. He said Wednesday that he made the correction to an addendum to include the team as one of Frank McCourt's assets on March 30, 2004.

Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon must decide whether the pact is valid. He also could order the sale of the team and its facilities, worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Jamie McCourt contends she deserves a part of the team, while Frank McCourt argues he is the sole owner. Earlier this week, she testified she didn't read the agreement which gave her estranged husband sole possession.

Lawyers on both sides are expected to go into mediation as early as Friday, according to a person familiar with the case who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about settlement discussions.

"You did not say to anyone in words or substance that Exhibit A had been changed the day before?" asked David Boies, an attorney for Jamie McCourt.

"No," Silverstein replied.

Silverstein was on the defensive for a second day after blistering questions by Boies. He testified Tuesday that when he gave the agreement to the McCourts to sign six years ago, a so-called drafting error that he made excluded the Dodgers as Frank McCourt's separate property on three copies, and three others that didn't.

In afternoon testimony, Silverstein explained that he wrote the word "exclusive" in a draft of the agreement to reflect that the team and his businesses were Frank McCourt's alone.

"I garbled the language," Silverstein said.

While Jamie McCourt signed all six at the couple's Massachusetts home, her husband only signed three there and the remaining three a couple of weeks later while he was in California.

It turns out the three that Frank McCourt signed in California excluded the team as his separate assets.

Boies wondered if Silverstein thought he had done something wrong.

Silverstein said Jamie McCourt sought the agreement to protect her nest egg § several luxurious homes § from her husband's liabilities, which were estimated at $500 million in 2004, according to handwritten notes made by the attorney on one of the drafts.

"She never once said the Dodgers or any of his other businesses shouldn't be in Frank's column," Silverstein said. "She never indicated that she ever wanted to have ownership in Frank's businesses."

Published: Thu, Sep 23, 2010