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Ex-Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt Unaware of Security Lapses at Stadium

He told a jury at the Bryan Stow's negligence suit that he was not directly involved in the security of the ballpark nor the hiring of people who were responsible for it.

Ex-Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt Unaware of Security Lapses at Stadium

Frank McCourt told a jury Friday that although he considered fan security during and after games to be a top priority when he owned the team, he was not heavily involved in either the implementation of such policy nor the hiring of individuals assigned to that task.

Testifying in trial of Bryan Stow's negligence suit against him and Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, McCourt said he also was not aware that parking lot lighting at Dodger Stadium had not been upgraded for about 30 years before Stow was attacked in Lot 2 by two Dodger fans on March 31, 2011.

McCourt also said he did not know that two watchtowers from which lots 1 and 2 could be observed were unmanned when Stow as attacked.

"I don't recall any specific conversations about watchtowers," McCourt said.

Questioned by Stow attorney David Lira, McCourt said he was unaware that Francine Hughes, who in 2011 was vice president of stadium operations and largely responsible for fan security, had a background in property management before she was hired by the Dodgers.

"I wasn't familiar with her résumé," McCourt said.

However, McCourt said he expected that people who worked for him were "capable, competent people."

McCourt said he was not involved in the decision to significantly reduce the number of uniformed Los Angeles police officers on Opening Day 2011 from 2009-10 levels.

"I trust the people empowered to do the job to do the job without limitations," he said.

McCourt said that although he was not directly involved in the decision to have many sworn off-duty police officers wear polo shirts rather than LAPD uniforms, he had no problem with the change.

"I did not object to it," McCourt said.

Rialto residents Louie Sanchez, 31, and Marvin Norwood, 33, pleaded guilty in January to assaulting Stow and were sentenced to eight- and four-year terms, respectively. McCourt filed a cross-complaint against both men that is being tried along with Stow's case.

Defense attorneys say Sanchez, Norwood and Stow are to blame for the attack. They assert Stow was drunk, gestured toward his assailants and made sarcastic remarks. The lawyers also say the combined security force of sworn peace officers and private guards was the largest ever for a Dodger opening-day game.

McCourt owned the team in 2004-12.

Stow, 45, has not been in court for more than a week. He filed his lawsuit in May 2011.

— City News Service

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