Sterling hearing to determine control of family trust set for July 7

Seeking to push through the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, attorneys for Shelly Sterling filed papers in a downtown court Wednesday, asking a judge to sign off on Sterling’s right to sell the franchise.

Sterling’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell filed a petition early Wednesday asking a judge to confirm that his client is the sole trustee of the Sterling Trust. O’Donnell argues Shelly’s husband Donald Sterling is “mentally incapacitated” and doesn’t have the authority to fight the sale.

Appearing in court to oppose the petition was Donald Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini, who called assertions his client is mentally incapacitated “ridiculous.”

Just after noon on Wednesday, a judge set a hearing for July 7. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday that the league will likely vote to approve the sale during a Board of Governors meeting scheduled for July 15. Continue reading

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Shelly Sterling will prevail in Clippers sale, friend predicts

AR-140519500Clippers owner Shelly Sterling and Steve Ballmer had an instant connection, says Sterling’s close friend, Kathrine Baumann.

Baumann had lunch Sunday at a Malibu deli with Sterling, where the pair talked about the pending $2 billion Clippers sale to the former Microsoft executive.

“Shelly just lit up when she talked about him,” Baumann recalled. “She said, “I absolutely adore him.’”

Asked if she thinks that Donald Sterling’s lawsuit will jeopardize the sale, Baumann said: “My money is always on Shelly.”

Ballmer offered the winning bid last Thursday for the Clippers, ending a fast-tracked process to sell the franchise owned by Sterling and her husband Donald since 1981. The NBA gave tentative approval to the deal, while Shelly Sterling agreed not to sue the NBA. She also indemnified the league against lawsuits from others, including Donald Sterling.

However, on Friday, Donald Sterling sued the NBA, seeking to block a forced sale of the team, and throwing into question the Ballmer deal.

Donald Sterling also successfully fought off a stiff fine from the NBA back in the mid 1980s, when the league slapped him with a $25 million penalty for moving the team from San Diego to Los Angeles. The Sterlings paid $6 million in the end.

If Donald Sterling continues his legal battle against the NBA, it’s likely to be a fight of “Sterling versus Sterling,” said a source familiar with the negotiations.

Ballmer has said little since the pending sale was announced. Through a representative, he declined a request for an interview on Monday.

The source said Ballmer offered a “wow factor” when negotiating with Shelly Sterling, ultimately beating out at least two other bidders.

“He put himself in a strong commanding position,” the source said. “He had a plan (for the team).”

The proposed sale comes after the NBA fined Donald Sterling $2.5 million, banned him for life from the league, and initiated a forced sale after a recording surfaced of the 80-year-old making remarks about African-Americans.

Shelly Sterling’s grandchildren were heckled at school after the Donald Sterling audiotape surfaced, Baumann said.

Believing Shelly Sterling will prevail in the sale, Baumann praised her friend’s handling of the deal. Shelly Sterling pushed for a quick resolution because “she didn’t want to tear the city apart, tear the fan base apart, and tear the Clippers apart,” Baumann said.

“She put this together and delivered it in a neat package to the NBA,” Baumann said.

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