The NBA has called off a hearing to oust embattled Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling in advance of a vote on a potentially record- breaking deal negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
The announcement by the NBA came as Donald Sterling’s attorneys filed suit in a federal court against the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver asking for damages in excess of $1 billion.
The suit alleges that the league violated Sterling’s constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also says the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million for those remarks and that it violated antitrust laws by forcing a sale.
Shelly Sterling, who is a co-owner, negotiated the deal to sell Thursday despite objections expressed through her estranged husband’s attorneys.
She was able to do so, however, because Donald Sterling was stripped of his ability to act as a co-trustee of the family’s fortunes, including the Clippers, after two neurologists determined he was suffering from dementia, according to a person close to the Sterling family.
Hansen remains committed
Investor Chris Hansen said he remains committed to getting the NBA back to Seattle even though he just lost one of his biggest partners in the process – Ballmer. Ballmer’s deal in Los Angeles leaves him out of Hansen’s investment group that has attempted to get a team back to Seattle. Hansen said his remaining partners – two members of the Nordstrom department store family are the other known partners – are still committed.