LOS ANGELES – Owner Frank McCourt vowed on Wednesday that no one will take the Los Angeles Dodgers away from him, while the man appointed by Major League Baseball to oversee the team's daily operations arrived in town to begin his duties.
"Sending someone to seize the Dodgers is absolutely wrong," McCourt said.
Tom Schieffer introduced himself publicly for the first time and said his role is to monitor the Dodgers on behalf of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, whom he made clear is in charge of the team.
Schieffer, however, said Selig doesn't want to take the Dodgers away from McCourt.
McCourt, meanwhile, was in New York to meet with MLB officials, although Selig was not present. He said his requests to meet with Selig have been rejected and he accused the commissioner of not returning his phone calls.
McCourt expressed concerns about Schieffer's appointment and discussed a pending television deal with Fox, the team's television partner.
"No one handed me the Dodgers and no one is going to take it away from me," McCourt said.
McCourt has been embroiled in a nasty and costly divorce battle with his former wife and ex-Dodgers' CEO Jamie McCourt.
McCourt's defiant tone was in direct contrast to the folksiness of Schieffer, the former Texas Rangers president and brother of CBS' "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.
"I look forward to talking to Mr. McCourt and hopefully we can have a nice visit and see what it is he's concerned about," said Schieffer, who listened to McCourt's teleconference before his own news conference at a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.
McCourt said Schieffer's appointment has created "chaos."
Asked if he anticipated any problems with McCourt, Schieffer said, "I hope that there won't be friction but that's really his choice.
"I don't want to get into a transcontinental argument with Mr. McCourt. I'm just here to help."
Pressed on whether he was concerned about his impending dealings with McCourt, Schieffer said, "I've dealt with the North Koreans."
Schieffer made clear that McCourt remains the team owner and that he is merely serving as Selig's representative, although he admitted, "I'm not exactly sure what a monitor is."
Schieffer was vague on what his exact duties will be.
"There seems to be some confusion as to what the role, responsibility of the monitor is," McCourt said. "What was explained to us was nothing short of a receiver and I'm not going to accept that. We don't believe that commissioner Selig has the right to jump the gun and send a receiver and take over the Dodgers."
McCourt said Selig had vetoed the proposed TV deal with Fox, which he claimed would provide financial stability for the Dodgers.
Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations, issued a statement correcting McCourt's account of their meeting, calling it "unfortunate" that McCourt choose to publicize their discussion.
"It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourt's public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, commissioner Selig did not 'veto' a proposed transaction," Manfred said, referring to the proposed TV deal.
"Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances."
MLB took control of the Dodgers last week after it was revealed that McCourt had arranged a $30 million loan from Fox to meet payroll. Now baseball must approve any expenditure of more than $5,000 made by the team.
McCourt said the loan was used for the team and will have to be repaid.
Court documents indicated the McCourts had taken out more than $100 million in personal loans from Dodger-related businesses.
A judge in December threw out a 2004 marital property agreement that gave Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers, clearing the way for Jamie McCourt to seek half the team.
McCourt said he would take $300 million from the TV deal with Fox and put it into the Dodgers and not toward funding a possible settlement in his divorce. McCourt said the 17-year deal with Fox could be worth more than $3 billion.
"The lack of a decision to allow us to do this media transaction is what's creating all of this noise about the financial duress of the Dodgers," he said.
McCourt said the team can meet its payroll.
"We are current on all of our obligations, all of our payments," he said. "We have never asked for a penny of emergency funding from MLB."
Manfred denied McCourt's assertion that the Dodgers had been seized, saying Schieffer has been appointed as a monitor and that McCourt was provided paperwork from Selig describing Schieffer's role.
"In our meeting, no one from the Dodgers asked a single, specific question about the terms of the document setting forth the monitor's role," Manfred said.
Schieffer sought to reassure Dodgers fans about the future of the storied franchise, saying he wanted to "give them some confidence that the instability and turmoil is coming to an end."
Schieffer said he hoped to open an office at Dodger Stadium in the coming days and meet with team employees. He said he has no timetable in which to complete his job, and he said Selig hadn't discussed salary when he accepted the position on Monday.
Retired Dodgers manager Joe Torre was on hand for Schieffer's appearance in his new role as MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, but he declined to take questions.
An emotional McCourt expressed regret about his and his ex-wife's lavish spending habits during their marriage that included owning multiple homes.
"I made some mistakes. I am sorry about that. I think everyone deserves a second chance," he said.
Associated Press Writer Greg Risling in Los Angeles and AP Sports Writer Howie Rumberg in New York contributed to this report.