Grove developer Rick Caruso and former Dodgers manager Joe Torre have withdrawn their joint bid to buy the bankrupt Dodgers because disastrous current team owner Frank McCourt is refusing to let go of the Dodger Stadium parking lots, reports the LA Times. In 2006, McCourt (who made his fortune in parking lots) set up a company called Blue Land to take control of the parking lots, then had the Dodgers pay rent to Blue Land for their use. BL can't be forced to sell because it's not in bankruptcy. Potential Dodgers buyers were told they could include the parking lots in their bids if they wanted, but if McCourt kept the lots, they'd have to lease them back for $14 million a year with the price going up in 2015 and every five years after that. In a letter to the MLB (pdf) on why they're dropping their bid, Caruso and Torre write: "It has now been made clear to us by Mr. McCourt that the lots are not and will not be for sale?Although our application is ready to submit to you as requested, given these circumstances we do not feel we can proceed with the bid process and are therefore not submitting our applications."
McCourt once had (and maybe still has) big development plans for the lots. A spokesman for Caruso said last month that he did not have any development plans. Still, the letter says that "Since the outset we felt that operationally it would be impossible to effectively manage baseball operations having the parking lots that surround the stadium under separate ownership. We believed that during the bid process that we would have the opportunity to buy the lots." According to the LAT, Caruso "commissioned studies on how to improve parking and traffic at Dodger Stadium and ultimately decided he could not provide the desired fan experience without control of the parking lots."
McCourt claims he has "at least one bid" that would allow him to keep the parking lots. Caruso and Torre say they're prepared to jump back into bidding "if the circumstances of the sale change." Image via LA DodgerTalk
· Rick Caruso, Joe Torre withdraw from bidding to buy Dodgers [LAT]
· Will Frank McCourt Keep the Dodger Stadium Parking Lots? [Curbed LA]