A new charitable foundation will be formed by the Clippers with Shelley Sterling at its head.
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According to reports, Donald Sterling’s estranged wife and co-owner of the LA Clippers, Shelly, will continue to hold a management position with the team after it is sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 Billion.
The Associated Press has cited two anonymous sources confirming that 10% of the team will be set aside as part of a charitable foundation to be managed by Mrs. Sterling, which she will co-chair with Ballmer. She is said to have proposed this condition of the Clippers’ sale herself.
The foundation will be dedicated to aiding underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youth. In other words, as one of the sources put it, it is intended, “To benefit those on the receiving end of Donald’s rather abhorrent remarks.”
Shelly Sterling will also be given the title of “owner emeritus” and continue to receive such perks as floor seats, additional seats at games and reserved parking at the arena. There is also a clause in the deal which will allow Mr. Ballmer to reacquire the 10% stake in the Clippers after Mrs. Sterling’s death from her heirs for a predetermined sum.
One of the sources was quoted by AP as saying that this is entirely about charity. “All the proceeds go to charity, it’s not going to go to her. She’s walking away with a $2 billion check. That’s enough for her, ” he said.
Mrs. Sterling had previously voiced her opposition to the sale of 100% of the Clippers and insisted that she had a right to keep her share of the team. This may be why the NBA reportedly embraced the idea of the new foundation.
However, there are still issues that need to be resolved before the sale and this deal are finalized. Mr. Sterling is still refusing to agree to the terms because the NBA has not waved s $2.5 million fine that it imposed on him for his racist rant. While he previously agreed to drop his $1 billion law suit against the NBA which he brought in an effort to keep the team, Sterling now says that this was conditional on the fine being dropped.
After he was fined for racist comments recorded in a telephone conversation by a former girlfriend, Sterling was also banned for life from the NBA. The league then said that it would move to vote to force him to sell. This motion was expected to pass easily in spite of the fact that it would require the support of three quarters of all of the league’s owners.
Such a vote was mooted by the recent announcement of Ballmer’s offer which was accepted by the Sterlings and is expected to win easy approval from the NBA.
For his part, Donald Sterling cannot stop the sale as the Clippers are formally owned by a trust of which his wife is the sole trustee, so she has the final say in the matter. But he can continue to cause problems for the NBA if he proceeds with his Federal lawsuit claiming that the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an illegal wiretap. There is also the possibility of his getting an injunction against the sale. The suit also accuses the NBA of breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and antitrust violations in forcing him to sell.