California appeals court denies Sterling's bid to halt Clippers sale

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 13, 2014 7:30 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California appeals court on Wednesday rejected former Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling's attempt to have the $2 billion sale of the NBA team put on hold, effectively dealing a final blow to Sterling's bid to have the deal blocked.

Sterling had asked the court for an immediate stay on the sale brokered by his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer until Sterling's appeal could be heard by the court.

Shelly Sterling, 79, was given the go-ahead by a Los Angeles probate judge last month to complete the NBA-record sale as the court said she had the power and fiduciary duty to finalize the deal with Ballmer.

Ballmer, 58, became the team's owner when the sale closed on Tuesday.

Lawyers for Sterling, who has been banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks, filed a writ of mandate with the appeals court asking for an immediate stay of the lower court's decision.

The 80-year-old real estate billionaire' s attorneys argued that the probate judge had ruled too broadly in allowing the Clippers sale to go ahead pending Sterling's appeal.

Shelly Sterling struck the deal with Ballmer in May, a month after the NBA banned her husband after his privately taped remarks imploring a girlfriend not to publicly associate with black people were published.

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Sterling's remarks during the Clippers' playoff run sparked public outrage, prompted sponsors to cut ties with the team and players considered a boycott.

Sterling, who originally blessed the deal his wife struck with Ballmer, refused to accept it after the NBA would not lift his lifetime ban or rescind his $2.5 million fine.

Sterling had owned the Clippers for 33 years.

He has also sued the NBA in federal and state courts.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken)