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Attorney: Clippers owner says no deal

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling pursues a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA and refuses to sell team.

Last updated: 11 Jun 2014 08:43
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life and fined him millions [Getty Images]

Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney said.

The $2 billion sale was negotiated by his estranged wife Shelly Sterling after Donald Sterling's racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicised and the National Basketball Association moved to oust him as owner.

The lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an 'illegal' recording that publicised racist remarks he made to a girlfriend.

It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

"We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit," said attorney Maxwell Blecher. He also said Donald Sterling would not be signing off on the deal to sell.

Sterling agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming 'all their differences had been resolved', his attorneys said. But he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won't revoke its lifetime ban and fine.

Record-breaking deal

Shelly Sterling utilised her authority as sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer. The deal would have record-breaking if approved by the NBA's owners.

But even if Sterling wins in court, he is ultimately going to be paying himself the damages the individual said because his wife Shelly Sterling has agreed to indemnify the NBA against all lawsuits, including by her husband.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ultimately decided to ban Donald Sterling for life, fine him millions, and began efforts to force Sterling to sell the team. Those efforts ended with Shelly Sterling's deal with Ballmer.

If this deal ultimately goes through, its terms allow Shelly Sterling to remain close to the organisation by allowing for up to 10 percent of the team - or $200 million - to be given into a charitable foundation that she would essentially run.

Shelly Sterling and Ballmer would be co-chairs of the foundation, which would target underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youths.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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