A mediator was appointed by the judge overseeing the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bankruptcy to help the club and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig try to overcome their months-long battle over the future of the team.
Retired U.S. District Judge Joseph Farnan has been trying to help craft a settlement between the Dodgers and Selig since July, according to court documents filed yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware, where the team is in bankruptcy.
Farnan “has the ideal skills, knowledge, experience and the personality to succeed in assisting the parties,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross said in his order approving payment for the mediator. The talks will be confidential and Farnan won’t communicate with Gross until the mediation is finished. At that point, Farnan will report on whether the parties settled, without making public any details of the talks.
Selig and team owner Frank McCourt have been battling about the best way for the Dodgers to raise enough money to exit court protection. Selig wants to force McCourt to sell the team, while McCourt is planning to auction the right to televise future games.
The team filed bankruptcy in June after Selig refused to approve a new television contract that McCourt had negotiated with the current broadcaster, News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox Sports.
Gross scheduled a hearing to begin Oct. 31 on whether to grant Selig’s request to file a reorganization plan for the team that requires a sale, or to grant McCourt’s request to try to auction the TV rights.
Both men are expected to testify at that hearing, Gross said in his order scheduling the hearing.
The bankruptcy case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11- 12010, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
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