Donald Sterling attends service at a black church

Donald SterlingDonald Sterling may be on the verge of losing the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but that doesn’t mean the 80-year-old is giving up on trying to repair his image. His methods, however, have left many laughing.

On Sunday, Sterling attended a two-hour service at a predominantly African-American church in South Los Angeles. TMZ caught Sterling as he was leaving Praises of Zion Baptist Church and reported that he sat through an entire service. He had apparently planned the visit before an agreement was reached to sell the Clippers.

Sources told TMZ that roughly 30 people were in attendance at the service, and at least one man left with his children as soon as Sterling and his security staff entered. Another church member handed Sterling something as he was leaving and reached through his window to offer a sign of affection.

While it has been reported that the Sterling Trust (aka Shelly Sterling) has signed off on the sale of the Clippers and Donald’s signature is not needed, we expect him to explore all legal avenues and make the transaction difficult.

Donald Sterling filing $1 billion lawsuit against NBA

Donald Sterling billion

Donald Sterling is planning to sue the NBA for over $1 billion in damages over his lifetime ban and terminated ownership.

A few days after an audio recording of Sterling making racist comments was published by TMZ, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling the maximum amount of $2.5 million, banned him from life from the NBA and said he could not be involved with the Clippers. Silver also said the league was moving to remove Sterling as owner of the Clippers.

That part was completed this week when Sterling’s wife, Shelly, agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Thursday for $2 billion.

As of now, Sterling is not suing to block the sale of the franchise, though he could decide to do that. The reason why the team was allowed to be sold is because Sterling was declared mentally unfit to make decisions, which made Shelly the 100-percent controller of the Sterling Family Trust. That gave her the power to transfer ownership of the team.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski says the NBA believes it can stave off any lawsuits from Sterling and make Ballmer the team owner.

Sterling may be awarded some money in damages, but I think this sale of the franchise is going through.

Photo via @bubbaprog

Donald Sterling was declared mentally incapacitated

Donald Sterling wifeWondering how Shelly Sterling was able to agree to a deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer without Donald’s approval? Now we have our answer.

According to ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne, experts declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated. Donald being declared mentally incapacitated allowed Shelly to become the sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust. The Sterling Family Trust controls the Clippers, with Donald and Shelly each having 50 percent stake in the trust.

Being the sole trustee gave her the power to agree to a sale of the franchise. Shelly did just that, agreeing to let the former Microsoft CEO purchase the franchise for a record price of $2 billion.

Donald’s attorney has been vocal in saying they intend to fight the sale of the team, and you better believe that they will. They’ll go after Shelly, the Sterling Family Trust, Ballmer, and the NBA for arranging this sale without his consent and approval.

This sounds like the ultimate shady move and one that will be challenged in court.

Donald Sterling’s lawyer says Sterling will ‘fight to the bloody end’ to keep Clippers

Donald SterlingLos Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has remained relatively quiet since the NBA banned him for life, and many have interpreted that to mean he is ready to sell his team and move on. Not so fast, says Sterling’s lawyer Max Blecher.

On Tuesday, Blecher told ESPN that Sterling’s group is prepared to “fight to the bloody end” to keep the team. He also said any reports about Donald agreeing to let his wife Shelly negotiate a sale of the Clippers are untrue.

“I don’t know what agreement she has with him, but I’m saying to you today, he disavows anything she’s doing to sell the team,” Blecher said. “He says, ‘It’s my team, and I’ll sell it when and if I get around to it.’”

Blecher said that Sterling was in a “state of shock” at first but is now feeling much more “feisty.” We all know the 80-year-old loves fighting legal battles, so it would be stunning if he simply stepped aside and sold the team like the NBA is hoping he will do.

“I believe what they’ve done is illegal and it will not hold up in court,” Blecher added. “I believe what they’re doing is a blatant invasion of his constitutional rights because they’re using a tape recording that he did not consent to, and under California law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose, for any proceeding.

“So if the basis of their case is illegal evidence, they don’t have much of a case. … The whole thing is a pile of garbage.”

Despite Blecher’s insistence that Sterling has changed his stance, Shelly is still reportedly moving quickly to sell the team. A group reportedly made an offer of $2.5 billion to buy the Clippers on Tuesday. Shelly Sterling has retained Bank of America to help her with the sale and has supposedly received at least six offers.

Donald Sterling cut V Stiviano off, leading way to ‘let the games began’ text message

Donald Sterling girlfriend V StivianoDonald Sterling’s decision to cut off V. Stiviano paved the way for her explosive reaction, which included her (seemingly) leaking the racist audio of the Clippers owner to the media.

The Los Angeles Times obtained a text message conversation between a Clippers employee and Stiviano on April 9 that shows the employee explaining to Stiviano that she wouldn’t have tickets, parking or other hospitality for that evening’s Clippers game. That decision by Sterling to strip Stiviano of these benefits ticked her off, because she had an angry response and indicated plans to get even.

Upon being told she wouldn’t have tickets to the game, Stiviano indicated that she had found other ways to get to the game. She then sent a text that was punctuated with a warning: “LET THE GAMES BEGAN.”

V Stiviano Donald Sterling text

That’s going to be my go-to line from now on. Any time I’m about to engage in a fight, let the games began!

Like Sterling said, he should have just paid her off. This is what he gets for being so cheap.

Report: Donald Sterling agrees to let wife Shelly negotiate forced sale of Clippers

Donald-Sterling-wifeDonald Sterling is planning to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. On Friday morning, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that Sterling has agreed to allow his wife Shelly to negotiate a forced sale of the team.

The NBA has not yet accepted the terms of the proposal between Donald and Shelly, and she will have to state her case in the coming days. If the proposed deal means having the Sterlings take their money and be gone from the league, I can’t imagine there would be much opposition from the NBA.

As Shelburne put it, the entire Sterling saga could come to an abrupt end if Donald transfers full ownership to Shelly and she agrees to sell the Clippers in their entirety.

Earlier this week, the NBA submitted its formal written case against Donald Sterling. One of the more interesting sections of the 30-page report stated that league investigator David Anders has reason to believe Shelly and Donald are “not in any sense estranged” and have spent time together since the racist audio recording was released. That seemed to set the stage for the NBA making a case that Donald turning the team over to Shelly is not a viable option.

However, the league would likely accept the proposal if it is a matter of Shelly agreeing to negotiate a complete sale. Adam Silver wants the Sterling family out of the picture completely. This would be one way of accomplishing that goal.

NBA: Donald Sterling tried to pay off V. Stiviano; Shelly Sterling is not his estranged wife

Donald SterlingThe NBA has submitted its formal written case against Donald Sterling, a 30-page report, as part of the league’s attempt to force the 81-year-old to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. The documents, which contain a number of serious allegations against Sterling, were reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

One of the claims made by NBA investigator and former US attorney David Anders is that Sterling tried to pay off V. Stiviano to claim the audio recording had been altered. Sterling allegedly met with Stiviano on May 2 and offered to reimburse her for the embezzlement lawsuit his estranged wife Shelly Sterling filed against Stiviano several months ago if she said she had altered the tape.

“Mr. Sterling said that he would return the value of that payment to Ms. Stiviano through back channels,” Anders wrote in his report.

While Sterling eventually admitted it was his voice on the recording, the NBA claims he first told a league investigator he never said certain things that were featured in the recording. For example, Sterling allegedly tried to say he never asked Stiviano to stop posing for photos with black people and never told her not to bring Magic Johnson to games. The comments he later made about Magic make that harder to believe.

Perhaps more surprising is the NBA’s claim that Sterling and his wife Shelly are “not in any sense estranged.” Shelly has tried to separate herself from Donald since the audio was released by hiring a prominent divorce attorney and speaking out against the racist comments that were made. The NBA seems to think that is all a front.

Investigators stated that “significant evidence exists in the public record and otherwise that Mr. and Mrs. Sterling are not in any sense estranged.” The document said the couple attended nearly every home game this season together and were seen together in New Orleans for February’s All-Star Game.

The case also noted that the couple spent two days together immediately after the Stiviano recording went public, once emerging from a downtown restaurant where she appeared to answer “of course not” when a reporter asked if Donald Sterling was a racist.

Shelly and Donald are clearly viewed by the league as part of the same entity, and taking the team away from Donald and allowing Shelly to retain ownership is not the outcome the NBA is seeking. Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the NBA’s findings in writing.

Thanks to Deadspin for the breakdown