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Donald Sterling's Very Bad Appeal of Clippers Sale Denied

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Donald Sterling is an unrepentant slumlord and serial sexual harasser. But it was only when a racist rant (one of many) was leaked to the media that the NBA banned Sterling and forced him to sell his L.A. Clippers.

Sterling had been battling the sale, and appealed a probate ruling that allowed his wife to sell the time. Only he appealed it very badly, and a California court affirmed the ruling. Now the former owner is running out of options.

Rochelle v. the Racist

Last year, Sterling's wife Rochelle removed him from the Sterling Family Trust after two doctors found him to be mentally incapacitated. This allowed Rochelle to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for almost $2 billion. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas upheld Sterling's removal last year.

Perhaps more satisfying than the court's ruling was its reasoning. A three-justice panel of California's 2nd District Court of Appeal held the evidence "overwhelmingly supported" Levanas's decision last year. A few other highlights, from the Los Angeles Times:

  • "On appeal, Donald fails to demonstrate any legal error and fails to consider the facts in accordance with the proper standards on appeal."
  • [The appeal] "suffers from numerous deficiencies" and that a reply brief "contains hardly any citation ... to support his factual assertions."
  • "He has devoted most of his briefs to rearguing the facts and relies on evidence expressly rejected by the probate court."

One-Man Wrecking Crew

This appeal is just one of many legal pans Sterling has in the fire. Sterling is suing TMZ over the release of the recording, suing the NBA in federal court over the sale, and suing his wife for divorce. It should not be forgotten that during his ownership, the Clippers were one of the worst franchises in sports history and have blossomed in his absence. So the only person who wants Sterling to regain control of the Clippers is Sterling himself.

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