News

Sterlings last bid to halt Clippers sale blocked by court

Sterlings last bid to halt Clippers sale blocked by court

FOULED OUT: Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said in a statement: "It is time for Donald to accept that the game is over and he has run out of courts." Photo: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his final chance to block the $2 billion sale of the NBA team to former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, when a California appeals court refused on Wednesday to halt the deal.

The three-judge panel rejected Sterling’s bid for an immediate stay of the sale brokered by his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, ruling the deal with Ballmer had already been completed and that the 80-year-old real estate billionaire failed to show how the NBA-record sale would cause him harm.

Ballmer, 58, became the team’s owner when the sale closed on Tuesday, bringing an end to a near four-month saga that saw Sterling banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million for racist remarks.

Shelly Sterling, 79, was given the go-ahead by a Los Angeles probate judge last month as the court said she had the power and fiduciary duty to complete the deal with Ballmer.

The court also denied Sterling’s request to overturn the lower court’s decision.

Sterling will still profit from the sale, pocketing the $2 billion along with his wife.

The appeals court’s rejection of Sterling’s petition is another victory for the NBA as the league has so far been able to remove an owner without having to take the action itself, legal observers said.

Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said in a statement: “It is time for Donald to accept that the game is over and he has run out of courts.”

Lawyers for Sterling had argued that a probate judge ruled too broadly by allowing Shelly Sterling to employ a little-used section of California probate code that would let the sale go ahead pending an appeal.

Shelly Sterling struck the deal with Ballmer in May, a month after the NBA banned her husband after his privately taped remarks imploring a girlfriend not to publicly associate with black people were published.

Sterling’s remarks during the Clippers’ playoff run sparked public outrage, prompted sponsors to cut ties with the team and players considered a boycott.

Sterling, who originally blessed the deal his wife struck with Ballmer, refused to accept it after the NBA would not lift his lifetime ban or rescind his $2.5 million fine.

The NBA still faces civil lawsuits in California and U.S. courts from Sterling, who says the league’s actions relied on illegal evidence and violated corporate law in its attempts to have the team sold.

Sterling’s attorneys called the appellate ruling “harsh.”

“Nevertheless, we are confident Donald will be completely vindicated in his federal case against the NBA,” attorneys Maxwell Blecher and Bobby Samini said in a statement.

Ballmer, who had previously pursued an NBA franchise, will make his first public appearance as owner at a Clippers fan rally next Monday.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Ken Wills)

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Sports

Indy 500 champions choose 1992 finish as greatest race

Fresh
11-overlay-10

There have been 99 editions of the Indianapolis 500 and many great finishes.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

The TMNT are ‘Out of the Shadows’ in new film

Fresh
12-overlay-15

Turtle power is back as the fearsome foursome fights to save the city from a dangerous threat.

1 hour ago in Music

Axl Rose wants to continue as AC/DC frontman after tour

Fresh
axl47276623086

Axl, 54, was drafted in earlier this year as a replacement for the band's usual lead singer Brian Johnson.

3 hours ago in Entertainment

Would you eat crickets for lunch?

eiblebugsREUTERS

A growing need for more food sources as well as a desire to treat animals more humanely have proponents predicting entomophagy, or eating insects, will eventually spread more heavily to western and developed countries.

4 hours ago in Music

Jim Morrison’s iconic L.A. home for sale

jimmorrison-96062702319

He lived on the top floor of an apartment building in West Hollywood with girlfriend Pam Courson between 1970 and 1971, and now the whole building is being listed for sale this month for $3.5 million.