July 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Shelly Sterling Claims to be Entitled to Sell the Clippers

 

Shelly Sterling said that she has the right to sell the LA Clippers because her husband is "no longer mentally competent."
Shelly Sterling said that she has the right to sell the LA Clippers because her husband is “no longer mentally competent.”

Shelly Sterling is expected to ask a probate court today for a finding that she was perfectly entitled to sell the Los Angeles Clippers because her husband, 80-year-old Donald Sterling, is no longer mentally competent.

Her expected appearance in a downtown courtroom will be the latest twist in a complex legal struggle over the team’s ownership. Donald Sterling, who had initially indicated support for the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, instead decided this week to proceed with a $1 billion suit against the NBA.

His decision was apparently prompted by the NBA’s refusal to cancel the measures it ordered against him after tapes surfaced in which Sterling could be heard making racist comments. The NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million because of the recorded conversations with companion V. Stiviano, whom he chastised for having her picture taken with black people, including Magic Johnson.

He also told Stiviano, who is part black, not to bring black people to “my games.”

Shelly Sterling announced late last month that she had negotiated a $2 billion sale of the franchise to Ballmer on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust. She said she had authority as head of the trust to negotiate the sale — claiming her husband’s mental capacity is impaired.

Under her guidance, the trust also struck a deal with the NBA, under which the trust and Shelly Sterling agreed not to sue the league and also agreed to indemnify the NBA against “lawsuits from others, including from Donald Sterling.”

Today, Shelly Sterling will seek a judge’s finding that it was her right to sell the team after brain scans at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and subsequent examinations by neurologists showed her husband is no longer competent to manage his affairs.

Sterling, responding to the NBA’s punitive measures, filed a response in which he claimed he had been recorded illegally while making emotional remarks to Stiviano during a “lovers’ quarrel.”

He also filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the league in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, alleging breach of contract and violation of anti-trust laws and of his civil rights. But last week, Sterling said he would not pursue the lawsuit and planned to sign off on the sale of the team to Ballmer.

On Monday, however, he made another about-face, issuing a statement through attorney Bobby Samini saying he plans to push forward with the lawsuit and oppose the sale.

Pierce O’Donnell, attorney for Shelly Sterling, declined to comment on any aspect of the situation, nor would he confirm plans for today’s court hearing.

Donald Sterling’s attorney, Max Blecher, said he had been notified by Shelly Sterling’s attorneys that they plan to go to Los Angeles Superior Court today to clarify who is in control of the family trust.

“The understanding we have is that she is going to go in and say that he has cognitive impairment that has prevented him from making decisions,” Blecher told the Los Angeles Times. “And that is something we will oppose.”

Sterling Tuesday again lashed out against the NBA.

“The NBA is a band of hypocrites and bullies,” the Clippers co-owner said in a statement. “They will not stop until someone stands up. They have taken the liberty to desecrate my privacy rights and my right to own property.”

He said the league’s actions against him were designed to distract from its own past discrimination.

“We have to fight these despicable monsters,” the statement said.

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