It was reported yesterday afternoon that the Joe Torre and Rick Caruso bidding group have withdrawn their bid from the auction, because they had assumed the surrounding parking lots were included in the deal. When Frank McCourt made it clear that he desires to retain ownership of the Dodger Stadium parking lots as allowed by the agreement with MLB, Torre and Caruso decided not to continue at this time in the auction process by letter dated lasted Friday which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Torre and Caruso’s group was thought to be one of the frontrunners in the auction. They have garnered 13% (4th place) of the votes in our Lasorda’s Lair poll located on the main page. Joe Torre, the former Dodger skipper, had resigned from his position with the MLB as an executive V.P. in order to pursue the team with real estate investor Caruso. I wonder if he will try to stay a part of MLB now that his pursuit of ownership of the Dodgers has stalled?
Back in 2005 Frank McCourt separated the parking lots from the team. Only the Dodgers are in bankruptcy, leaving the parking lots under McCourt’s ownership. He has said he plans to develop the lots and perhaps build parking structures. The new owner would have to lease the lots for $14 million through 2014 with possible increases thereafter. McCourt is still clinging onto his piece of the Dodgers, and hopefully this will not cause any detriment to the bidding process. He claims that he has at least one bid for the team excluding the parking lots, but another bidding party has reportedly lowered their bid by $300 million after discovering McCourt’s refusal to negotiate for the lots to be included in the deal.
It has been speculated that Rick Caruso wanted to purchase the parking lots so he could develop the land as well. You can read my opinion piece on Caruso, and how I feel that his potential plans to develop the surrounding lots of Dodger Stadium or perhaps even remodel Chavez Ravine into a Grove-like retail laden atmosphere does not bode well with me. I breathe a sigh of relief tonight knowing that Caruso will not be transforming our beloved ball park into a contrived shopping destination.
With the recent withdrawal of Peter O’ Malley, there are now 9 known bidders still left including the Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten group which seems to me to be the frontrunner now. Be sure to place your vote on our poll-we are close to 400 votes!