Published On: Tue, Jul 29th, 2014

Judge hands Shelly Sterling Right to Sell Husband’s Clippers for $2 Billion

Lawsuit Between Shelly Sterling And Donald Sterling Over Sale Of LA Clippers Continues

 

Shelly Sterling wept and  exclaimed “I can’t believe it’s over. I feel good, ” when Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas gave the estranged wife of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling the green light to sell the team for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.  The judge employed a rarely-used provision in California estate law which allows a judge to grant authority to a guardian or trustee to act as if no appeal were pending.

The bizarre and tangled tale of the fall of Donald Sterling began in April when a girlfriend recorded racist remarks made by Sterling who chastised her for being seen with black men at games. His remarks scandalized the nation, and there were calls for his ouster, but even after he apologized for his comments, he told his girlfriend not to be photographed with Magic Johnson who is HIV positive and is therefore a “bad influence.” When the NBA threatened to auction the team to the highest bidder, Sterling initially gave his wife, aged 58, permission to sell the team, but never signed this document, and has since threatened to sue the NBA.

Shelly Sterling claimed her husband’s struggle with Alzheimers made him incapable of making effective business decisions and had him removed as a trustee. Meanwhile, Donald Sterling dissolved the trust and claimed that Shelly and the doctors were conspiring to make deceptive claims about his condition. The controversy centered on whether Shelly  had the right to remove her husband as a trustee and how much weight her decisions carried after the trust was dissolved. Judge Levenas ruled in her favor, and Shelly Sterling’s lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, said, “This is a great day for the family trust, the NBA and the entire NBA family.”

Donald Sterling’s behavior before testifying and in court hardly helped his argument that he was of sound mind. Before testifying, he kissed his wife and said he loved her, but a day earlier in court he exclaimed to Shelly “Get away from me, you pig!”

A cool two billion is a nice return for the $12 million Sterling spent in 1981 when he bought the team, but Sterling claimed that he would never sell the team as long as he lived and could generate more money from the Clippers through selling TV rights and suing the NBA for $9 billion over his dismissal.

Donald and Shelly Sterling at clippers game

 

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