I mention this because I heard two things about the McCort divorce case that set off my "cognitive dissonance" alarm bell; i) the Dodgers are deep in debt, and lose tons of money; and ii) Ms. McCort wants to prove she owns half the team, and Mr. McCort wants to disprove that.
If the team is such a financial "black hole," why would either of them want it?
Answer: the team generates plenty of money. The supposed losses are manufactured to avoid taxes. A sports reporter named Steve Dilbeck who handles forensic accounting for the Los Angeles Times explains as follows why the team is $433 million in debt despite having raised revenues $46 million the past four years:
You start up shaky new holding companies, charge yourself $14 mil in rent for the stadium you already own, pay a fourth of a charity’s budget to a single person, borrow money against the parking lots to buy more estates, dodge paying income taxes for six years while pocketing $108 mil … and this financial Rubik’s Cube is a surprise?Sounds familiar, doesn't it? It should. Several of those moves are right out of the City Hall play book: set up a "non-profit," hand it millions to "fight gangs," and the money winds up going to lavish salaries and to yet other "non-profits" that get your money without even having had to apply to the City for it.
For example, Villaraigosa and the rest of the Spring Street Gang handed $1 million of your money to a "non-profit" called the VIP Community Mental Health Center about a year ago. (You've got to love the name, don't you?) For what? Well the "mental health center" was supposedly going to protect you from gangs better than a million dollars' worth of police officers could. (At $50,000 per officer, that would have been 20 extra officers, by the way.)
Of the $1 million, $304,531 were allocated to "personnel costs," and $550,087 were allocated to unspecified "subcontractor costs." Who were the subcontractors? An outfit called "Barrio Action" got $275,087 of your money, and "Community Partners" got the other $275,000. (What the heck was the $87 for? A celebratory lunch?)
So, really, the dodgy Dodgers accounting is par for the course for L.A. -- if I may use a metaphor from one sport in discussing another. And that brings us to the big question: Can we, the people of Los Angeles, please have a divorce from the career politicians at City Hall?