Shelly Sterling Heads To Court To Get Authority To Sell Clippers -

Shelly Sterling Heads To Court To Get Authority To Sell Clippers

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Los Angeles, CA -

From Phil Shuman:

As The Basketball Turns

If you are interested in these kind of details, and I am, there were eight attorneys in Probate Court in Los Angeles this morning in what can be called ''The Sterling Matter''. Three for Shelly Sterling, two for her husband Donald, two for the NBA and one for would be Clipper buyer, Steve Ballmer, who I'm told has already put down his 300 million dollar deposit on his record 2 billion dollar purchase.

Eight attorneys... that's a lot of legal firepower. The issue was fairly simple. Can Shelly dismiss Donald as one of the two Sterling Family Trust Trustees so she can do the deal with Ballmer herself ? Donald apparently said ''fine'', a week or so ago, then said  ''Not so fine' a few days ago." As ammunition, Shelly's side claims two doctors who examined him, followed by a third who reviewed their work, found Donald didn't have the mental capacity to make 2 billion dollar decisions. According to my hallway conversation with her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, the charming couple has a provision in their trust that if two doctors found either one of them lacking the mental capacity to make decisions, that person could be eliminated from the trust . (Lawyers think of these things ). So in May, after the infamous TMZ leaked recordings were made public, Donald, for reasons still unexplained (but many things are unexplained with Donald,) apparently agreed to have two psychiatrists at Cedars Sinai examine him, and have PET scans and CAT scans, which examine the brain and body for disease or injury. The Docs also examined Donald at his home. Their reports , filed with the court today concluded, essentially, that Sterling had lost his ability to function at a high level.  "Congnitive impairment '' one wrote . Now a judge has scheduled a four day trial in July to determine whether he agrees with that. Donald will call his own doctors ( presumably ) who, I'm sure, will come up w/ opposite conclusions, so as ODonnell said, ''it will be a battle of the experts". Shelly is hoping that the judge makes a decision quickly, as the deadline to do the deal and sell the Clippers is July 15. Sort of. It can also be extended to August 15th. Nothing is fast or simple when it comes to Donald or Shelly. And keep in mind this comes as in the background Donald has reinstituted his own 1 billion dollar suit against the league and Commissioner Adam Silver, a suit he had earlier agreed to give up. I hope he doesn't change his mind and drop his battle for control before I finish writing this.

(FOX 11 / AP) Shelly Sterling's attorney will be in probate court Wednesday to seek an emergency order for a hearing so a judge can confirm her authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, according to an individual familiar with the matter.

The individual was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Shelly Sterling brokered what would be a record-breaking $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to sell the team after her husband and co-owner Donald Sterling made racist comments to a girlfriend that were recorded and publicized. The NBA moved swiftly to oust him as an owner.

But Donald Sterling has vowed not to sell and is suing the NBA for $1 billion.

Donald Sterling said in a statement released by his attorney Tuesday that he's fighting for the fundamental rights of Americans against the NBA which he calls "a band of hypocrites and bullies" and "despicable monsters."


Shelly Sterling contends she is the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the team. Donald Sterling was stripped as co-trustee after two neurologists last month determined he was suffering from dementia and "mentally incapacitated" under the trust's conditions, according to a person who is familiar with the trust and the medical evaluations but could not speak publicly.

The aim of Sterling's court bid is to have a judge confirm provisions of the family trust to ensure the Ballmer sale moves forward without a hitch. Donald Sterling has the right to present his side at any hearing and appeal any decision.

His attorney Maxwell Blecher said a representative for Donald Sterling will likely be at any hearing but declined to comment further Tuesday. Sterling's attorneys have called the idea that he is mentally incapacitated "absurd."

Representatives for Shelly Sterling and Pierce O'Donnell declined comment.

On Monday, Donald Sterling pulled his support from the Ballmer deal and issued a one-page statement titled "The Team is not for Sale."

He instructed his attorneys to prosecute the lawsuit against the NBA that alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

"I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights," Donald Sterling said. "While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled."

NBA general counsel Rick Buchanan has called Donald Sterling's lawsuit "entirely baseless."

"Since it was his wife Shelly Sterling, and not the NBA, that has entered into an agreement to sell the Clippers, Mr. Sterling is complaining about a set of facts that doesn't even exist."

Donald Sterling had agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming "all their differences had been resolved," his attorneys said. But individuals close to the negotiations who weren't authorized to speak publicly said he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine.

"There was never a discussion involving the NBA in which we would modify Mr. Sterling's penalty in any way whatsoever. Any suggestion otherwise is complete fabrication," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

Donald Sterling's comments to V. Stiviano included telling her to not bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling's "incredibly offensive racist statements."

Donald Sterling said in his statement that he was "extremely sorry for the hurtful statements" he made privately but said them out of anger and jealousy and didn't intend for them to be public.

Update from Gigi Graciette:

As the Sterling family drama and the battle over their basketball team continues, the ball is now in a new court.

A downtown Los Angeles probate court with lawyers for Shelly Sterling filing a motion today requesting a judge validate that she had and still has, the legal right to sell the Clippers.

This after her husband Donald did a very public about face, saying in a written statement he titled "Why I am fighting the NBA" that he will not sell the Clippers, which he refers to as "my team".

But Mrs. Sterling's lawyers say that not only did Donald give her permission to sell the team in writing, there's also a clause in their trust that if he were to become mentally incapacitated, she would become sole trustee with power to negotiate for both of them.

And according to attorney Pierce O'Donnell, that's already happened.

O'Donnell tells me they've had two doctors interview, test and examine Donald Sterling and both agree he is not mentally capable of dealing with business issues.

A third doctor, says O'Donnell, has reviewed the records and agrees.

Donald Sterling's mental capacity or incapacity now at the center of this dispute, with his attorney saying those findings need to be independently evaluated.

And there is also another important player in this drama and that's Steve Ballmer - the man who wants to buy the Clippers.

His attorney, Adam Streisand, is here in court too.

"Mr. Ballmer has insisted that as a condition of this deal going forward" Streisand tells me, "that this court bless the authority of Shelly Sterling to enter into this deal as sole trustee based on the removal of Donald Sterling."

Seems everyone wants the Donald out but the Donald himself.

Meanwhile, he's also suing the NBA for a billion dollars.

In that same written statement, Mr. Sterling calls the NBA "hypocrites and bullies", along with "despicable monsters" and accuses the league of having a "history of discriminatory practices".

That lawsuit will have to be dealt with too but later.

The NBA says they're stepping back - for now - to let the Sterling's deal with their family issues.

To be continued....

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