LOS ANGELES: Shelly Sterling will seek an emergency court order confirming her as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers in a bid to block her estranged husband from having any say in the team’s $2bn sale, a source with knowledge of the matter said yesterday.
Donald Sterling, 80, was banned for life by the National Basketball Association in April and fined $2.5m after a leaked tape of him making racist remarks to a girlfriend prompted an outcry from fans, players and sponsors of the team. The league has tentatively approved a deal by Shelly Sterling, co-owner of the franchise, to sell the club for $2bn to Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft Corp chief executive.
At one point, Sterling said he supported the move, but he declared late on Monday the Clippers were not for sale, and that while he realised it might be unpopular, he would fight to keep the club he built over 33 years.
Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, said yesterday he expected his client would eventually challenge the clause in the family trust that gave his wife control of the team when doctors deemed Sterling incapable of managing normal business affairs.
David Cornwell, a sports lawyer with law firm Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, said that while Sterling’s lawsuit did not hold much legal weight, it could cause Ballmer to have second thoughts about the sale.
“I don’t know if I’d go through with it at this point,” said Cornwell.
“Two billion dollars is quite a bit to put on the line to have it subject to the whim of a district court judge.” REUTERS