Just when you thought the Los Angeles Clippers saga could not get any more dramatic Donald Sterling once again flipped the script. Yesterday, afternoon as most of LA and the NBA were celebrating the proposed sale of the team from the Sterling Family Trust, headed by Shelly Sterling to former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmerm, for a record $2 billion, news broke that things were again getting interesting.
Donald Sterling through his high powered lawyer , Maxwell Blecher, filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against the NBA.
Meanwhile, just after the Sterling suit was announced the NBA informed Shelly Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust, that she had the leagues blessing on the proposed sale and canceling Tuesday’s termination hearing.
As part of the agreement Shelly Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust agreed not to sue the NBA – and to indemnify the league in lawsuits from Donald Sterling.
The indemnity clause means the Sterling Family Trust would be responsible for any damages occurred in a lawsuit, essentially forcing Donald Sterling to sue himself.
That clause will be examined closely by Donald Sterling’s attorneys.
Shelly Sterling had been acting as the sole trustee, entrusted by her husband to negotiate a sale, according to a letter sent to the NBA on May22.
The letter, drafted by another of Donald Sterling’s attorneys, Douglas Wilson, reads “Mr. Sterling agrees to the sale of his interest in the Los Angeles Clippers. This letter confirms that Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team, owned by LAC Basketball Club Inc.”
Donald Sterling is suing the NBA for damages due to a violation of constitutional rights, breach of contract, violation of antitrust laws, conversion of property and breach of fiduciary duties pertaining to the charges against Sterling.
In addition, multiple reports Friday said Donald Sterling has been diagnosed with symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sterling underwent voluntary neurological tests earlier this month, and after being deemed mentally unfit, Shelly Sterling became the sole trustee in the Sterling Family Trust, according to the reports.
Regardless of Donald Sterling’s mental state, the league was on a path to forcibly remove him from the team he’d owned since 1981.