Short of a decision by the Supreme Court, which is unlikely, Donald Sterling looks like he has no choice but to go along with the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
“While we have no doubt Donald Sterling will appeal to the Supreme Court, we are beyond thrilled and gratified and supremely confident that this is now over and done and Steve Ballmer is the undisputed owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Adam Streisand, who represents Ballmer, was quoted by ESPN.
Sterling’s lawyers had tried to get an immediate stay, but the appeal was rejected by California’s 2nd Court of Appeal.
“The evidence before this court indicates the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steven Ballmer has closed,” the Court of Appeal said in a ruling. “Thus, there is nothing for this court to stay.”
In addition, Sterling “has failed to show that the balancing of the relative harms favors granting a temporary stay or supersedeas,” the court added in the ruling.
The attorneys representing Sterling appear to accept the fact they were defeated.
“We who represent Donald Sterling are deeply disappointed that he has been deprived from ownership of the Clippers after 33 years without being accorded appellate review of this harsh result,” Max Blecher and Bobby Samini, said in a statement released last week. “Nevertheless, we are confident Donald will be completely vindicated in his federal case against the NBA. More importantly, we believe that the ‘popular’ ruling in the Probate matter is a serious blow to the Privacy rights for all Americans.”
Shelly Sterling, Donald’s estranged wife, worked out the deal with Ballmer.
“Shelly is thrilled that her decision to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer has been upheld by the Court of Appeal,” Pierce O’Donnell, an attorney for Shelly Sterling, said in a statement released to the media. “It is time for Donald to accept that the game is over and he has run out of courts. For the Clippers, it is a new era under a new owner whose commitment to excellence and passion will take the team to an NBA championship.”
Meanwhile, Donald Sterling has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the National Basketball Association, seeking $1 billion. The NBA has since countersued Sterling. It claims Donald Sterling caused “incalculable harm” to the NBA, according to a report from the ABA Journal. The harm relates to the racist statements he made in a private conversation that was recorded. The recording was later leaked to the media.
Patrick Goodman, who teaches probate law at UCLA, predicts that Donald Sterling has little chance of getting the California Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s decision.
“He could try, but it would be the longest of longshots,” Goodman told The Los Angeles Times. “The sale has already happened and can’t be undone, so there’s little reason for the California Supreme Court to intervene.”
According to news reports on the sale of the team, Streisand said that, “Within minutes, the deal was signed, sealed and delivered.”
Earlier, a California judge had ruled that Shelly Sterling could sell the team because Donald Sterling was incapacitated, InsideCounselreported. Donald Sterling was diagnosed by some doctors of showing early signs of Alzheimer’s or similar disorders. Donald Sterling’s attorneys disputed the diagnosis.