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Ongoing legal battle continues over Sterling Clippers sale

Gregory A. Lang

Minnesota residents may be interested in the ongoing legal battle between Donald and Shelly Sterling over the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. The latest legal moves by both parties may delay the sale, as the league waits for resolution before moving forward with penalties against Donald.

The Clippers franchise is owned by the Sterling Family Trust, with both Donald and Shelly as trustees. Two doctors, however, testified that Donald was not fit to conduct the affairs of the trust due to his mental incapacity. This leaves Shelly as the sole administrator. In this role, Shelly sold the Clippers to Steve Ballmer, former chief executive officer of Microsoft, for $2 billion on May 29. At first, Donald said that he would give his consent to the sale of the team. However, Donald and his attorneys have since challenged the sale.

According to one of Donald's attorneys, the charges of mental incapacity changed Donald's mind. Reports indicate that a comment from the commissioner of the NBA, stating that the planned fine and lifetime ban against Donald would remain despite the sale, was also a deciding factor. Now, Donald is planning to appear in probate court to challenge Shelly's motion to have him removed as a trustee. Plans by the NBA to terminate Donald's franchise were curtailed by the announcement that the team would be sold. Now, the league is staying out of the dispute for the moment, waiting for official resolution of the couple's dispute.

Asset management issues can be complicated and contentious, particularly when other aspects of a relationship between the parties are involved. An attorney may be able to help a client facing these types of issues, either by negotiating a fair settlement between the parties or by appearing in probate court to resolve them in front of a judge.

Source: ABC 13, "S. Sterling's Attorney Heads to Court", June 11, 2014

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