California Appeals Court Tosses Sterling's Request for Stay on Sale
LOS ANGELES (CN) - A California appeals court on Wednesday rejected Donald's Sterling's appeal for a stay on the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
The Second Appellate District summarily denied Sterling's petition by order Wednesday afternoon, because the sale had already been completed.
"There is nothing for this court to stay," the court stated in its order, adding that Sterling "has failed to show that the balancing of the relative harms favors granting a temporary stay or supersedeas."
"Shelly is thrilled that her decision to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer has been upheld by the Court of Appeal," Shelly Sterling's lawyer Pierce O'Donnell said in a statement.
"It is time for Donald to accept that the game is over and he has run out of courts. For the Clippers, it is a new era under a new owner whose commitment to excellence and passion will take the team to an NBA championship."
The sale came after a probate judge in July in ruled in favor of Sterling's estranged wife, Rochelle "Shelly" Sterling. The $2 billion sale is the largest sum ever paid for a North American professional sports franchise.
"I am thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner," Shelly Sterling said in a statement. "I am happy for the team, the fans, the sponsors and the city of Los Angeles."
Steve Ballmer praised the "amazing" Clippers fans. "They have remained fiercely loyal to our franchise through some extraordinary times," the 58-year-old billionaire said in a statement.
The agreement to sell the Clippers to Ballmer was reached on May 29 but faced a challenge in June from the team's erstwhile owner. Though Donald Sterling had owned the Clippers since 1981, making him the longest-tenured owner in the league, the NBA banned him in April when racist comments Sterling made in private were leaked to the media.
Shelly Sterling asked the probate court to confirm her as The Sterling Family Trust's sole trustee and to approve the sale to Ballmer under California's Probate Code § 1310 (b). The trust is the sole shareholder of LAC Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Clippers.
Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas issued a tentative oral ruling on July 28 that gave Shelly Sterling the authority to go head with the sale, pending a final order.
Ballmer's attorney told USA Today that Levanas issued a signed order Tuesday morning.
"I went to Judge Levanas' courtroom this morning hoping that he would have signed the order, which he had," Ballmer attorney Adam Streisand told USA Today. "The clerk handed the order to me. I emailed from the courtroom to close the deal. The NBA owners voted last week."
Shelly Sterling will retain the title of "owner emeritus," Shelly Sterling publicist G + F Bunting + Co. said in a statement.
"I am confident that Steve will bring the city a championship team in the very near future," Shelly Sterling said. "I cannot wait for the new season to begin."
Donald Sterling's attorneys Max Blecher and Bobby Samini said they were "deeply disappointed" by the court's decision, and said Sterling has been "deprived from ownership of the Clippers after 33 years without being accorded appellate review of this harsh result."
"Nevertheless, we are confident Donald will be completely vindicated in his federal case against the NBA. More importantly, we believe that the 'popular' ruling in the probate matter is a serious blow to the privacy rights for all Americans," the attorneys said in an email statement.