By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Jul 28, 2014
Looks like the battle over control of NBA franchise the Los Angeles Clippers is over and embattled owner Donald Sterling will lose the team for good.
On Monday, a California probate court judge ruled that Sterling “could not block the sale of the team that his wife, Rochelle, brokered for $2 billion against his wishes,” reports The New York Times. Rochelle (Shelly) Sterling owns the team with her estranged husband, who came under fire earlier this year when an audio recording of his racist remarks was widely circulated and the NBA barred him from team owenrship.
“The judge, Michael Levanas of California Superior Court, said he found Rochelle Sterling to be a more credible witness than her husband, who acted erratically during several days of testimony, raising his voice at lawyers from both sides, and referring to his wife as ‘a pig,’” the Times reports.
Levanas also ruled that the $2 billion sale to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer could go through immediately. The price tag is an NBA franchise record, according to the Times.
“The central question in the case was whether Rochelle Sterling acted properly in removing her estranged husband from their trust,” the Times reports. “Two doctors declared Donald Sterling incapacitated after examining him, which Rochelle Sterling’s lawyers have said satisfied the trust’s requirement to remove someone as co-trustee.”
“Donald Sterling’s lawyers said he was duped into taking the exams, which they have argued were used as a pretense to take the team away from him,” according to the Times.