Donald Sterling Responds, Claims He Has Offers Exceeding $2.5 Billion

05.28.14 4 years ago
V. Stiviano, Donald Sterling

V. Stiviano, Donald Sterling (Kirby Lee- USA TODAY Sports)

Last Friday, it appeared we were headed for a sudden conclusion to the Donald Sterling controversy when it was reported Sterling’s wife, Shelly, had been given permission from her husband to start negotiating the sale of the Clippers franchise. Things took another turn last night, when Donald Sterling and his lawyer Max Blecher filed a response to the league’s claims.

USA Today obtained the 32-page document sent to the league by Sterling’s representatives, which you can read in full here. In the document, Sterling vehemently denies having done anything wrong to deserve the penalties he has received, and claims he was received offers for the Clippers in excess of $2.5 billion. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Sterling vehemently rejects the league’s penalties:

In the documents sent to the NBA offices Tuesday, Sterling denies every allegation and charge made by the NBA and asks that the proceedings to terminate him at a hearing of the Board of Governors on June 3 be dismissed.

“I believe what they’ve done is illegal and it will not hold up in court,” Blecher told ESPN. “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.

The lawyer for Donald Sterling said his client plans to fight to keep ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
“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.”

According to Sterling’s lawyer, any previous agreement to allow Shelly to sell the team is now also off the table:

So, it appears we’re back at square one, and Sterling and the league will be headed to a messy court battle after all. It should be noted among the examples listed in Sterling’s document, one of them was Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, who has taken a strong public stance against gay marriage. Sterling believes if he is being punished for things he said in an audio tape never meant for public consumption, then the league should essentially do a sweep of all of the owners and hold them accountable to the same standards. It’s a ridiculous argument, but it could have significant implications for the league if they’re forced to go through the details of every owner’s rights and wrongs in court.

The next date to circle on the calendar will be June 3, when the NBA Board of Governors convene to vote on whether to force Sterling’s sale of the Clippers. Even if the vote does go through, as many expect, Sterling has made it clear he’ll fight any attempts to force him out. Just when it looked like we might have a resolution on the horizon, it now appears things will start getting a lot messier in the weeks to come.

What do you think?

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