Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling co-own the Clippers through a family trust
Shelly Sterling moves to sell team after two doctors she hired judged husband's mental state
Donald Sterling refuses to agree to the sale and the matter ends up in probate court
Judge will rule on whether the proper steps to act solely on behalf of the trust were followed
A California judge on Monday denied Donald Sterling’s request for a postponement of a probate court trial over the proposed $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers by the Sterling family trust.
The trial is scheduled to start July 7 and last four days.
Shelly Sterling agreed May 29 to sell the NBA franchise to billionaire Steve Ballmer for what would be an NBA record price.
But Donald Sterling, the Clippers’ other co-owner, doesn’t want to sell the team he bought in 1981. He refused to sign on to terms of the deal.
The trial will focus on Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the Clippers and not Donald Sterling’s mental capacity, lawyers for each side said Monday.
At issue will be whether the procedures for removing one of the trust’s owners were followed. Shelly Sterling hired a neurologist and a specialist in geriatric psychiatry who separately examined her husband and judged him to be mentally incapacitated.
Donald Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini maintains that the mental examinations he was given were under “undue influence” and “there was fraud” on Shelly Sterling’s behalf.
Donald Sterling, 80, has been embroiled in controversy since a recording of a conversation with his friend V. Stiviano was posted online in late April. The recording included a series of racist comments.
Sterling’s comments, first posted on TMZ, sparked outrage among NBA players, executives and fans. NBA commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life from the NBA.
The NBA’s board of governors, representatives from each of the 30 ownership groups, is scheduled to meet July 15 and could approve a sale then if the legal aspects of the deal are sorted out.
In order for the team to be sold, either Donald Sterling would have to sign a binding term sheet or a court would have to agree Shelly Sterling acted legally in selling the team.
CNN’s Linda Hall contributed to this report.