From the MLB Press release:
COMMISSIONER APPOINTS TOM SCHIEFFER AS MONITOR OF THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed J. Thomas Schieffer, the former president of the Texas Rangers, as the Monitor of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise. Schieffer will represent the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball in the oversight of the day-to-day operations, business and finances of the Dodgers and all of the franchise’s related entities.
“All of the franchise’s related entities” will apparently include the Dodgers Dream Foundation., which is very fortunate for the Office of the Commissioner and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
All things considered, it is best that MLB exercises oversight of the DDF. First, the payment of $ 400,000 to Howard Sunkin touched off a California state Attorney General’s office investigation, which will further harm the Dodgers brand (full disclosure – I was the souce for the article in the New York Times by Michael S. Schmidt)
Second, in March of 2009, the Dodgers crossed swords with the Major League Baseball Players Association, as they attempted to insert mandatory donations into the language of the standard player’s contract. The MLBPA opposed the idea under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and a settlement was reached. The kerfuffle did made the union look like they were anti-philanthropic at the time, but the recent accusations that funds may have been used incorrectly (and labor law) validates their reticence. I wonder if players’ contributions were used appropriately – and if it is proved that the DDF was just another “piggy bank” for the McCourts, will they ask for a refund of their donations?
Thirdly, considering the messy divorce, AG’s investigation, the “forced donation” battle and rumored IRS charges, would you want Frank McCourt and/or his ex-wife Jamie having any control over a pot of money connected to the Dodgers?
My calls to the Dodgers Dream Foundation to ask whether Frank McCourt was still President of the foundation and Jamie McCourt still were Vice President were forwarded immediately to the public relations department. It may not be sinister – after all, this is LA, and everything goes through a media filter! – but a simple answer to my simple question was met with reticence by the Dodger organization. In checking the public records, the California state Attorney General’s office still lists the McCourts as officers, but there may have been a filing with the Secretary of State office to change their status.
Hopefully MLB will appoint someone familiar with not-for-profit accounting and operations takes over the foundation soon to fully co-operate with state and federal authorities and clean up yet another mess created by the McCourts.