The NBA had hoped to be done with Donald Sterling fairly quick back when it handed down a punishment to the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
So much for that. Not only is the embattled owner not going anywhere anytime soon, but it is starting to appear as if he might still be in control of the team when the 2014-15 season starts.
With the probate case involving whether Sterling’s wife had the right to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yet to be decided Sterling has decided to give the NBA, his wife, and Adam Silver (NBA commissioner) something else to worry about. He is suing all three for damages because they (allegedly) defrauded him and violated corporate law in attempting to sell the Clippers.
The argument his legal team is bringing is that neither Donald or Shelly could legally sell the team, but that the corporation LAC Basketball Club Inc. is the only entity that can (via ESPN):
“When Donald bought the team, the shares of the corporation are only in Donald’s name. They were only issued to Donald, so Donald owns the shares of the corporation. He’s the sole shareholder. He put the shares up into the trust in 1989, and when we revoked the trust, the shares go back down to him.”
The NBA has not commented, but Shelly Sterling’s lawyers have calling it “a frivolous, last-ditch act of desperation by a delusional, bitter man” who is “obsessed with ruining a record-setting $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers — a sale that would solve the problems his racist rant started three months ago.”
All the legal action is now giving some reason to think/fear that the whole mess could still be ongoing when the next season starts–which could create a whoole new problem. Head coach Doc Rivers has said that he will not coach the team if Sterling is still the owner.[ESPN]