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Trial to determine Donald Sterling's say in sale

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Updated: 6/11 10:43 pm

(SportsNetwork.com) - A hearing has been set on Shelly Sterling's request to have a probate judge rule she is entitled to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.

A Los Angeles probate court on Wednesday agreed to hold a four-day trial on the issue beginning July 7.

The trial will determine whether Donald Sterling, who objects to his estranged wife's planned sale of the Clippers, was properly removed as an administrator for the family trust that owns the team.

The NBA Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on the sale of the team to Steve Ballmer on July 15. The Sterling Family Trust agreed to sell the franchise to the former Microsoft CEO on May 29 for a record $2 billion.

Shelly Sterling is trying to prove that Donald Sterling, who purchased the team in 1981 for $12.5 million, is mentally unfit to make decisions on behalf of the trust.

Her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said three doctors have found Donald Sterling, 80, mentally incapacitated.

"The trust agreement provides that if two qualified physicians certify that he's mentally incapacitated, he's removed. We also have a third distinguished doctor who agrees on that conclusion," O'Donnell said.

The NBA banned Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million after a recording of him making racist remarks was published in April.

A scheduled June 3 meeting of the NBA's Board of Governors was canceled after Sterling announced he would agree to the Ballmer sale.

But in a response May 27 to the NBA's formal charge to terminate his ownership in the Clippers, Donald Sterling called the league's attempts to take the team away a "sham" and said Commissioner Adam Silver's punishments amounted to "draconian penalties" that wouldn't be enforced by any court.

He announced this week he would not go along with the sale and said he still planned to sue the NBA for $1 billion.

Audio of Donald Sterling urging a female acquaintance not to bring black people to Clippers games and disparaging Magic Johnson was first published in April by TMZ.

The comments sent shockwaves through the league and led to a protest from Clippers players, who dropped warmup jackets at midcourt before a playoff game and practiced with their shirts turned inside-out to hide the team's logo.

Donald Sterling said the NBA was attempting to strip his ownership of the Clippers over what he called illegally recorded remarks made during a "lovers' quarrel."

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