Shelly Sterling has asked a Los Angeles probate judge to issue a ruling that she has the power to sell the Los Angeles Clippers against the wishes of her husband, Donald Sterling, according to Bloomberg. Shelley insists that Donald is mentally incapacitated.
Shelly said in a filing this week in Los Angeles Superior Court that she needs confirmation from the court if her husband refuses to give his consent. The sale is pending to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
Donald reversed course this week and ended his support of the sale. He also said that he would sue the NBA, which he previously said he would not. Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981. He changed his mind about the sale because the league said it will not remove the $2.5 million fine against him.
A four-day trial will begin on July 7 regarding the request by Shelly. The closing date for the sale of the team is scheduled for July 15. If the sale does not happen by then, the league would be allowed to seize the franchise and sell it.
“The court clearly understood the exigency of the matter,” Pierce O’Donnell, a lawyer for Shelly Sterling, said. “We are very pleased.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the league would perform a forced sale if the Sterlings did not sell the franchise. Shelly agreed to sell the club to Ballmer in order to avoid the forced sale.
Just one day after Shelly agreed to sell the team, Donald sued the league for $1 billion.
The most recent filing states that Shelly is the sole authority as trustee of the Sterling Family Trust to sell the team if Donald is found to be mentally incapacitated.
“I am disappointed that we have to expend time and resources defending the false and absurd assertion that my client lacks mental capacity,” Bobby Samini, a lawyer for Donald Sterling, said.
The terms of the deal with Ballmer state that if Donald does not agree with the sale, Shelly must acquire one final non-appealable court order stating she has the sole authority to sell the team.
The league’s general counsel, Richard Buchanan, said, “Every day that Mr. Sterling remains an owner of the Clippers causes additional damage to the team. The sale of the team to new ownership is the only way to put an end to this harm and permit the Clippers and the NBA to disassociate themselves from his abhorrent views and actions.”