(Adds emergency request filed, trial date, possibility of NBA
By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES, June 11 Shelly Sterling on
Wednesday asked a Los Angeles court to confirm her as the
controlling owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers franchise in
an attempt to block estranged husband Donald Sterling from
possibly stopping the $2 billion sale of the basketball team.
Donald Sterling, 80, was banned for life by the National
Basketball Association in April and fined $2.5 million by the
league after tape of racist remarks he made in private were
leaked to the media. He has vowed to fight the sale of the
franchise and his wife's claim that she is the sole trustee of
the Sterling Family Trust that owns the Clippers.
Attorneys for Shelly Sterling filed the emergency request
for a hearing in a bid to reinforce her status as the sole
trustee of the family trust.
A four-day trial is set begin on July 7 which should offer a
resolution ahead of the NBA owners' July 15 vote on whether to
approve the league's record sale of the Clippers to former
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.
Attorneys for Sterling, Ballmer and the NBA were also
present at Los Angeles Superior Court. Sterling's attorneys did
not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, two neurologists found Sterling to have
Alzheimer's disease, which triggered the clause transferring
control of the trust that owns the team to Shelly Sterling.
According to the clause, Sterling would not have the
standing to block the sale to Ballmer that was agreed to by
Shelly Sterling and tentatively approved by the NBA.
If the Los Angeles probate court rules that Donald Sterling
can halt the sale, the NBA will reinstitute a hearing among
owners to terminate Sterling's ownership, a person with
knowledge of the matter said. The league canceled the original
hearing after Shelly Sterling agreed to sell the team to
Sterling, who originally blessed the deal with Ballmer, has
also sued the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver for at least $1
billion, alleging he was forced to sell the team due to a
recording made illegally according to California law.
Silver has maintained that an agreement struck with Shelly
Sterling following the deal with Ballmer indemnifies the league
against any legal action taken by her husband, so the Sterling
Family Trust would have to pay any possible damages awarded to
The Sterling Family Trust and Clippers were also accused by
a former intern in federal court on Wednesday of violating labor
laws for not paying its interns.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by G Crosse)