LOS ANGELES: Donald Sterling filed a petition with a US appeals court requesting an order blocking the proposed $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to ex-Microsoft tycoon Steve Ballmer.
Sterling’s lawyers are seeking to block Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas’ ruling last month that allowed Shelly Sterling to go ahead with the sale to Ballmer.
Friday’s appeal contends that allowing the sale to take place would mean the loss of a “unique and irretrievable asset … one of 30 NBA franchises” for Sterling.
Sterling, who made his fortune in real estate, has been under pressure to sell the team since the release of a tape between him and his girlfriend V. Stiviano. In the recording, Sterling criticizes the much younger Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and tells her not to bring them to Clippers games.
Soon after the comments became public, the NBA slapped the 80-year-old owner with a lifetime ban from the league and began the process of stripping Sterling of ownership of the club he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million.
The league put that on hold pending a decision on Shelly Sterling’s ability to sell the franchise.
Following weeks of testimony in a trial, Levanas ruled July 28 that Shelly Sterling had acted properly in removing Donald Sterling as a trustee of the family trust that owns the team. The move came after two specialists examined Donald Sterling and deemed him to be mentally incapacitated.
Sterling contended he had been hoodwinked by his wife into submitting to the tests as part of a plot to sell the team behind his back.
Sterling has also filed a separate lawsuit challenging Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the team based on corporate law.
He has another civil rights lawsuit pending in American federal court against the NBA, claiming he was being buffaloed out of the league in violation of his rights.