Donald Sterling Loses Bid To Retain LA Clippers; Sale To Steve Ballmer Cleared

Donald Sterling
Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made a surprise appearance at an African-American church service in south Los Angeles. Reuters

A Los Angeles judge Monday ruled the $2 billion sale of the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can go forward. Superior Court Judge Michael Levana said Shelly Sterling was within her rights to seek a mental evaluation of her husband, Donald, to take full control of the team.

"Rochelle's testimony was far and away more credible than Donald," Levanas said in his verbal ruling. "Donald's answers were often evasive and, in one instance, were inconsistent with his previous testimony."

The judge said Shelly Sterling had followed the provisions of the Sterling Family Trust in arranging the deal.

Donald Sterling was ordered to sell the team by the NBA after making offensive racial remarks. He at first gave his wife permission to sell but then changed his mind.

Attorney Max Blecher said Shelly Sterling tricked her husband into submitting to a mental exam that found he had signs of Alzheimer's disease, KNBC, Los Angeles, reported.

"The petitioner's hands are not unclean, they're filthy ... Damn the trust agreement. She was his wife, she was his co-trustee and she had an obligation ... to be completely candid with him," Blecher said in closing arguments.

 

 

 

Sterling has owned the Clippers for 33 years. He was banned from the NBA for life for remarks that went viral in which he made sexual comments to his "personal assistant" and told her not to bring blacks to Clippers games with her.

Coach Doc Rivers reportedly threatened to quit if Sterling retained ownership and players threatened a boycott.

ESPN reported Ballmer's $2 billion offer for the team is 12.1 times expected 2014 revenues.

"Whether you want to call it a slam dunk or a home run, none of us believed that we would get to $2 billion," Bank of America expert Anwar Zakkour testified last week, Sporting News reported. "None of us even believed we'd get to the $1.8 billion number, so that says it all."

Ballmer has set an Aug. 15 deadline for completing the deal, USA Today reported. There was no immediate word on whether Donald Sterling would appeal the decision but California trust law would allow the sale to proceed "as if no appeal were pending."

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