Closing arguments in the California probate court trial between Donald and Shelly Sterling begin Monday, and the subject of discussion has shifted to whether or not Shelly followed the rules of their family trust when she had Donald declared mentally incapacitated, removing him from his post as co-trustee.
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To remind you, Shelly wants to sell their NBA team, the LA Clippers to former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Donald says he will die before he lets go of his team, never mind that the NBA might empower itself to force the sale after September 15. Donald has vowed to tie them up in court until the Messiah comes, or until his own natural death, whichever comes first.
When Shelly removed her husband from the trust, Donald revoked the whole thing, causing an avalanche of $500 million in bank loans that are coming due because the trust is no more.
So Shelly and her attorneys have devised a kind of Hail Mary, which normally you don’t do in Basketball: they’re going to ask Judge Michael Levanas to grant Shelly the power to go ahead with the sale despite Donald’s appeals, because otherwise, well, the avalanche.
See, there’s a rarely used provision in California estate law, 1310(b), which lets a judge grant authority to a guardian or trustee to act “as if no appeal were pending.”
If the judge gives her the power, Shelly could sell to Ballmer and keep the $2 billion, and the buyer keeps the team, no matter how many appeals Donald’s pushing.
It’s a little like going to rob a bank and asking a judge to watch out for the cops. It’s just not going to happen, say most legal experts, or they should say so. it’s the kind of decision that so gets overturned by a higher court, there’s no point in going there. not unless Donald actually soils himself in court.
In other words, it’s going to be a huge Hail Mary, and it’s not ending in a swoosh.