Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E Sports) – The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to businessman Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion will push through as a judge ruled that Rochelle Sterling had the authority to sell the team.
In his ruling, Judge Michael Levanas of Los Angeles County Superior Court said Rochelle Sterling properly followed the directions of the family trust in removing estranged husband Donald Sterling as co-trustee.
Levanas added that the sale of the team could be completed without waiting for what would be a lengthy appeal.
Rochelle Sterling wept as she left the courtroom after Levanas’s oral ruling, which will not become official until he files it in writing. Rochelle Sterling’s team of lawyers and advisers embraced as they stood to leave the courtroom. Donald Sterling was not in court Monday.
“This is a new day in Los Angeles and a new day for the Los Angeles Clippers,” Pierce O’Donnell, Rochelle Sterling’s lead lawyer, said.
“And we want to go forward understanding that it was one woman who stood up against her husband, who had the courage to go to court and prevailed. So for the cynics out there, sometimes it works out O.K. This is a Hollywood ending,” O’Donnell added.
“We expect that we’re going to continue to get grenades from all directions,” said Adam Streisand, a lawyer representing Ballmer. “But I’ve been confident from the beginning about how this is going to work out, and I’m still confident.”
However, Donald Sterling, who purchased the franchise in 1981, has two other lawsuits pending and can contest this ruling next month.
Donald Sterling, 80, was barred for life from the NBA and fined after an audio recording was released in April in which he made racist comments.
“Well it goes without saying that we’re deeply disappointed with this result and also deeply disappointed at the quality of the analysis that the judge engaged in,” said Maxwell M. Blecher, one of Donald Sterling’s lawyers who has represented him for many years.
Blecher criticized Levanas’ ruling, saying the judge erred on several accounts, which would be the basis for an appeal.