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Wife of former MLB owner alleges fraud in asset valuation

Massachusetts residents who follow major league baseball have probably heard about the recent sale of the Dodgers for $2.15 billion to a conglomerate of investors that including the famous basketball player "Magic" Johnson and others. Now, the former owner's ex-wife has sued the former owner, seeking to set aside her divorce settlement as a fraud. According to her, the former owner had stated in the course of their divorce settlement that this family business asset was worth only $300 million.

One thing Massachusetts divorce attorneys must ensure is that any asset valuation and liquidation is complete and is consistent with the parties' true financial state. When the value of business assets and other marital property gets grossly understated, it becomes far more likely that a divorce decree may come under attack from an angry former spouse who discovers that he or she did not get a fair share of the property.

For his part, the former owner claims that his ex-wife had enough information to know how much the professional baseball team was really worth. His wife had a role in managing the Dodgers and, according to the man, could have learned the potential resale value of the team by doing some further investigation.

The woman counters that she did not have access to sensitive financial information about the team and that her ex-husband eventually forced her out of her management role altogether. She claims that her ex-husband was in the best position to know the value of his team and that he wrongly represented that value to be $300 million or less.

The judge presiding over the post-dissolution dispute currently is making a decision. While usually an agreement involving property division in a divorce is binding, it is possible in this case that the ex-wife will get an opportunity to set her agreement aside and ask for more money. Those in Massachusetts who feel that their ex-spouse understated the value of his or her assets may want to consider a similar course of action.

Source: ABC Good Morning America, "Jamie McCourt Claims Foul Pitch in $131M Divorce," Susanna Kim, April 24, 2013

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