Texas Rangers

Sources: Rangers unlikely to be affected by Simpson divorce

Bob Simpson is co-chairman of the Rangers and holds the second-largest ownership stake in the club he helped purchase in 2010.
Bob Simpson is co-chairman of the Rangers and holds the second-largest ownership stake in the club he helped purchase in 2010. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Baseball sources said that the impending divorce between Texas Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson and his wife, Janice, will not have an adverse effect on the team’s operation or cause a significant shakeup to the oilman’s ownership stake in the club.

Simpson, the former XTO Energy chairman who was part of the group that purchased the Rangers from U.S. Bankruptcy court Aug. 4, 2010, holds the second-largest share of the club behind Ray Davis, the other co-chairman and general partner.

The duo, along with ownership committee chairman Neil Leibman, have bought out a number of the smaller partners in the years since the sale. Even if the divorce ultimately were to force Simpson to sell part or all of his stake, it would likely be gobbled up by Davis, Leibman and others in the group.

One source familiar with purchases of professional franchises said that it wouldn’t have been unusual for Simpson to put his share of the club into a family trust to serve as another layer of protection from a divorce.

The Simpsons filed for divorce twice previously before reconciling.

The good news for the Rangers is that the Simpson divorce would not have the same effect as the high-profile Frank McCourt divorce had on the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2010-2013.

McCourt claimed he was the sole owner of the club, but his wife, Jamie, argued she owned half. In the meantime, the club went into bankruptcy and fell under the control of MLB, which appointed Rangers Hall of Famer Tom Schieffer to watch the books.

Ultimately, a settlement was reached in which Jamie McCourt gave up her ownership claims, and Frank sold the club for a record $2.15 billion.

It’s difficult to search for cases in the Tarrant County district clerk’s office because of how the cases are filed and because of rules protecting privacy, District Clerk Tom Wilder says. But that isn’t the way open records should work.

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