Donald Sterling will not contest the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers and will drop a lawsuit he filed Friday against the NBA, Sterling’s attorney, Max Blecher, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports Wednesday.
Sterling, the Clippers’ owner since 1981, had considered fighting the sale of the team by his wife Shelly. But such a challenge might have required Sterling to battle her in court and dispute a recent finding about his mental health. Shelly Sterling agreed to sell the Clippers last week to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
Blecher declined to comment Wednesday on the reasons for Donald Sterling’s decision.
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The sale to Ballmer awaits a vote by NBA owners, who are expected to approve it in coming weeks
“Donald Sterling officially announces today, the NBA and Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling have agreed to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion and various additional benefits,” Bobby Samini, another attorney for Sterling, said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “All disputes and outstanding issues have been resolved.”
The team is held by the Sterling Family Trust, with Shelly and Donald Sterling each owning 50%. After NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced he would move to force a sale of the Clippers, Donald Sterling authorized his wife to sell the team on his behalf with a letter to the NBA on May 22. But then he changed his mind last week and decided to fight a vote scheduled for Tuesday on whether to terminate his ownership.
It was a short-lived legal conflict. The NBA canceled the hearing last week after Shelly Sterling reached a deal with Ballmer without her husband’s approval. To make the deal happen, she acted as the sole trustee of the family trust, relying on a provision in the trust that relates to the mental health of the trustees. If one of the trustees is deemed mentally unfit by experts, the other becomes sole trustee and can make decisions about the trust, a person familiar situation told USA TODAY Sports last week.
Donald Sterling underwent an examination last month that led to that determination, said the person, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.
His attorneys disputed that their client was not capable of making business decisions related to the trust. But to challenge his wife’s authority to sale the team, they might have had to fight it in state court.