SBD/June 4, 2014/Franchises

Donald Sterling: Everything Is "The Way It Should Be" Regarding Clippers Sale

Donald Sterling (c) is considering suing his estranged wife, Rochelle (l)
Suspended Clippers Owner Donald Sterling last night at a charity event told L.A.-based KNBC-NBC he feels "fabulous" now that the team is being sold. He said, "I feel very good. Everything is just the way it should be really. It may have worked out differently, but it's good. It's all good." He added, "I'm okay. Is the NBA okay? I'm not sure about them. Is (NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver okay? I'm sure he's okay." Sterling then said, "Move on" (KNBC-NBC, 6/3).  In L.A., Rainey & Fenno write Sterling "remains holed up in his Beverly Hills mansion ... quietly pleased" that his team last week fetched a record sale price of $2B, but his "real concern -- one that might still send him to court in an attempt to block the jaw-dropping deal -- is that the windfall does nothing to mend his wounded reputation." Sterling's attorney, Max Blecher, said, "He doesn't want to die and have his tombstone say, 'Here lies a mental incompetent and a racist.' He is trying to do the best he can to see whether those stigmas can be eliminated or at least reduced. ... That is what this is about." Sterling is considering suing his estranged wife, Rochelle Sterling, who "asserted sole control of the family trust after doctors determined he was no longer able to conduct his own business affairs." She "sold the team without her husband's involvement." Blecher "disputed the doctors' findings, saying his client was 'functioning perfectly well.'" Blecher said that his client "would prefer to come to a settlement" with Rochelle Sterling. Blecher implied that Sterling "might be willing to sign off on the sale" to prospective team Owner Steve Ballmer, but "only if his wife withdraws the doctors' statements about his mental health and her assertion that she is sole trustee of the family trust." Blecher said that if this "fails, Sterling might sue," and that so far, Donald Sterling "has heard no response from his wife." A protracted court fight over the family trust "could postpone, or even scuttle, the sale of the Clippers" (L.A. TIMES, 6/4).

HOW THE SAUSAGE WAS MADE: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Eriq Gardner writes under the header, "Why Steve Ballmer's $2 Billion Deal To Buy The L.A. Clippers Took Only A Week." The Friday before Memorial Day, Rochelle Sterling's lawyers, Bob Baradaran and Pierce O'Donnell, "decided the deal needed to get done quickly." Without a prospectus that "would take six months to prepare, Baradaran entertained dozens of calls from interested parties during the holiday weekend." He said that there were 20 "serious bidders, from Oprah Winfrey and David Geffen to a group out of the Middle East, and all were curious about terms of the team's TV rights deals." The eight "most credible bidders were given not a typical 100-page contract to review but rather a single sheet with an empty box for a dollar figure and a space to list noneconomic demands." Ballmer, who outbid a $1.6B offer from the Winfrey group, "was crowned the winner the day after the May 28 deadline" (, 6/4).
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