Bankruptcy Trustee Blasts Dodgers’ Fee Payment To Highbridge

Jul 18 2011 | 8:32am ET

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ proposed $150 million loan from Highbridge Capital Management has a powerful new opponent.

The U.S. Trustee that oversees bankruptcies added her voice to that of Major League Baseball in opposing the financing, echoing the league’s allegation that the Dodgers, who filed for bankruptcy last month, failed to properly disclose a $4.5 million fee it paid to the hedge fund. The Dodgers merely referred to a “fee letter” and asked that it be filed under seal.

But U.S. Trustee Roberta Angelis said she would oppose any fee payments without full disclosure.

“The debtors did not properly disclose a significant fee that is both material and essential,” Angelis said in a filing Friday.

Baseball is pushing the bankruptcy court to force the Dodgers to accept its own financing, which it says are offered under better terms, rather than the Highbridge loan. The two sides continued to bicker in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware, with MLB alleging that the Dodgers discriminated against two employees by not paying them severance as it does other former employees, and the Dodgers shooting back that baseball only cares because it has since hired one of those employees.

The Dodgers also asked the court for permission to hire the Blackstone Group to help it restructure liabilities and sell its media rights. It was MLB’s refusal to approve the Dodger’s proposal to sell its television rights for 17 years for $3 billion that prompted the team’s bankruptcy filing.

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