Fans of last-place Mariners baseball have focused their frustrations on absentee majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, a Japanese billionaire, and their hopes on minority owner Chris Larson, a media-shy multimillionaire who was formerly a Microsoft star programmer. But Larson’s divorce battle is making that idea as likely as a Mariners’ World Series Trophy.
Court documents regarding Larson’s divorce from Julia Calhoun, his wife of 24 years, indicated the couple’s fortune, built on his Microsoft stock portfolio, has been largely depleted. In one filing Larson states, "During the current recession, our net worth has been severely impacted by the decline in the stock market and other factors and we have had to sell assets to pay down debt."
Records show at one point, Larson was so in debt following Microsoft’s 2008 stock crash, that he tried to raise cash to repay a bank loan by selling a third of his Mariners stake to fellow team owner John Stanton. But Larson later abandoned that idea and remains the largest minority owner at 30.63 percent. In a deposition, Larson said the 10 percent share he once considered selling appraised at only $34 million. Forbes magazine valued the Mariners at $439 million that year and Larson — hoping for a higher appraisal — opted not to sell. His full stake in the Mariners is being appraised for the divorce. In any case, a court order prevents Larson from selling most assets or making new investments without his wife's consent.