Clippers sale hinges on legalities of family trust

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm •  Published: June 30, 2014
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers will hinge on the technicalities of family trust law and whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife had the right to unilaterally negotiate a deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The July 7 trial will look at the trust's terms alone and not focus on whether the 80-year-old Sterling is mentally incapacitated, Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas said Monday.

Attorneys will argue about whether Shelly Sterling properly followed the terms of the trust in declaring Donald Sterling to be mentally incapacitated and what happens to a deal that hasn't been closed once a trust is revoked.

Shelly Sterling struck a deal to sell the team to Ballmer in May after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as an owner.

She had two doctors examine her husband and they declared that he was mentally incapacitated and unable to act as an administrator of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers. The terms of the trust say incapacitation can be determined by two licensed doctors without ties to the family who are specialists in their field.

In court filings, Donald Sterling's attorneys argued that he submitted to medical examination under false pretenses, there was undue influence in the doctors' findings, and that the examination and letters regarding his mental capacity were defective and incomplete.

"There was no duping," Shelly Sterling's attorney Pierce O'Donnell said Monday. Donald Sterling voluntarily went to Cedars Sinai Imaging Center to get scans of his brain and there was no requirement to remind Donald Sterling, who is an attorney, or his legal team of the trust's conditions, O'Donnell wrote in court filings.

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