Sterling has reportedly refused to sign the papers transferring ownership of his beloved Los Angeles Clippers owner to Steve Ballmer after discovering that the NBA will not be revoking the lifetime ban and the $2.5 million fine imposed upon him.
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Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner is now steadfastly refusing hand over the keys to the Staples Center to Steve Ballmer, not so long ago Microsoft chief executive.
Not only has sterling pulled the rug out from under the $2 billion sale, negotiated by his wife Shelly Sterling, but also announced that he intends to fervently pursue the $1billion federal lawsuit against the NBA which he had put on hold.
Sterling’s lawsuit alleges that the NBA was in violation of his constitutional rights by attempting to oust him from the club, because they based their findings on information gathered from what he claimed to “illegally gathered ” recording, in which he made belated racist remarks to a girlfriend, which were later publicized, .
According to a statement issued by Donald Sterling’s attorney Maxwell Blecher, the NBA were also guilty of committing a breach of contract by their actions in fining Sterling $2.5 million as well as violating antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.
Even when it was reported that Donald Sterling had agreed to drop his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, before the weekend, indications of a change of heart in the offing began to leak on Sunday when league commissioner Adam Silver, in an interview Sterling had yet to formally drop the suit.
Silver’s misgivings were proved to be correct when late on Monday, Maxwell Blecher, release the announcement that his firm have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit.
Unofficial reports have it that Sterling was under the mistaken impression that the NBA had decided not to censure him for the racist remarks that he was heard clearly making on the now infamous recording.
In a later statement released by Sterkling himself, the eighty year billionaire businessman explained that, in his opinion, the action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA to impose a $2.5 million fine and ban him for life constitutes a violation of his rights as well as flying in the face of the basic freedoms that are afforded to all Americans.
Lookers-on in the world of sports as well as those involved in the legal profession both agree that it is unclear how this Sterling’s legal challenge will affect the sale of the Clippers.
Shelly Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife negotiated the sale to Ballmer in her role as the sole trustee of the Sterling family trust, after a court ruled that her husband was found to have a cognitive impairment.
Unofficial sources say that neurologists, both from the U.C.L.A. Medical Center is a second opinion from unknown medical facility based in San Fernando Valley concluded that Sterling’s current mental condition to be defined as “cognitively impaired” a condition that Ms. Sterling’s lawyers insist allows her the legal right to sign the contract on behalf of the trust, without the need for Donald Sterling to countersign.
Maxwell Blecher has since maintained that the medical tests carried out, were only capable of clearly ascertaining that the 80-year-old businessman had a mind which was in the process of “slowing down.”
According to the terms of the deal with Steve Ballmer, in the event that it does go through, at least Shelly Sterling will be allowed to remain close to the Los Angeles Clippers, as both parties have agreed that Shelly Sterling would also be awarded the honorary position of “owner emeritus”, bringing with it all of the ownership perks, such as floor seats, additional seats at games for guest and parking.
In addition, ten per cent of the transaction, or $200 million, will be set aside establish a charitable foundation which Ms. Sterling will be giving responsible for its day to day running and which she and Steve Ballmer would jointly chair.
The foundation would be established with the goal of helping underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youths.