Sterling Says NBA Tricked Him
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Donald Sterling sued his wife Shelly Sterling and the Clippers and the National Basketball Association late Tuesday to block the $2 billion sale of the Clippers, claiming his wife and the NBA tricked him into undergoing brain scans to oust him from the team.
Sterling sued Rochelle Sterling, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and the NBA in a Superior Court complaint that alleges unfair business practices, breach of contract, fraud and other counts.
After he was forced to give up ownership of the Clippers on May 12, 2014, Sterling says Shelly met with Silver and discussed ways to terminate her husband's ownership of the NBA team.
Sterling says his wife settled on the ploy of using medical scans and examinations as a pretext to remove him as the co-trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, where the assets of the LA Clippers were held.
"On May 15, 2014, defendant induced plaintiff to undergo PET and CT scans at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Defendant falsely represented that the scans were for 'routine' purposes. This representation was in fact false and made with the intention to deceive and defraud an remove plaintiff as co-trustee of the trust," the complaint filed on Tuesday claims.
On May 27, the doctors released a report that found that Sterling was "incapacitated and incapable of running his affairs and serving as co-trustee of the trust," according to the court filing.
Then on May 29, Shelly Sterling entered into an agreement with Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft Corporation, and later executed a proxy agreement with the NBA in order to approve the sale of the Clippers to the Seattle-based businessman, according to Sterling.
"Moreover, on May 30, 2014, the NBA and defendant entered into a settlement agreement, whereby defendant agreed to indemnify the NBA against any suit brought by plaintiff," according to the lawsuit.
Sterling sued the NBA the same day. Then in June, Sterling revoked his shares in the trust, reverting the share of the Clippers "back to himself as the sole shareholder," he says.
"On June 11,2014, defendant [Shelly Sterling] filed her petition in probate court seeking confirmation of her acts as sole trustee of the trust and requesting order from the court to approve of her sale of the Clippers to Ballmer," the complaint states.
But since he is the "sole shareholder" of the Clippers, Sterling says that Shelly Sterling has no right to vote Clippers shares to push through a sale to Ballmer. Only he can sanction any transaction according to his 14-page lawsuit.
The complaint says that the Clippers should have rejected the proxy agreement and "questioned Shelly Sterling's authority to sign the proxy appointment behalf of Donald Sterling."
As well a injunction freezing the sale of the Clippers, Sterling seeks actual, exemplary, punitive damages and costs.
He is represented by Bobby Samini of Costa Mesa firm Samini Scheinberg and Max Blecher with Blecher Collins Pepperman & Joye.