Donald Sterling, who last weekend wrote a letter to the NBA giving his wife, Shelly Sterling, permission ”to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team, owned by LAC Basketball Club, Inc,” has apparently had a change of heart.
According to his lawyer, Max Blecher, Sterling "is going to fight to the bloody end" and “disavows anything she's doing to sell the team,” adding, “He’s said it's my team, and I'll sell it when and if I get around to it.’"
Sterling also contests every single allegation levied against him by the league, saying that no “lawful grounds exist to terminate the membership of LAC Basketball Club, Inc. in the NBA.” In a document submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for their June 3 meeting, Sterling said the league’s forced sale of the team is based on remarks made in private during a “lovers’ quarrel,” which were “illegally recorded.” He continued:
The NBA’s use of this illegal recording constitutes a clear and blatant violation of Mr. Sterling’s California constitutional rights. The authors of the charge did not have the courage, decency, or honesty to acknowledge the circumstances surrounding Mr. Sterling’s jealous rant or even that the source of their information was borne from the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Mr. Sterling is being banned for life, fined $2.5 million, and stripped of his ownership for a purely private conversation with his lover that he did not know was being recorded and that he never intended would see the light of day. We do not believe a court in the United States of America will enforce the draconian penalties imposed on Mr. Sterling in these circumstances, and indeed, we believe that preservation of Mr. Sterling’s constitutional rights requires that these sham proceedings be terminated in Mr. Sterling’s favor. This is particularly true when over its entire history the NBA has never fined anyone as much as $2.5 million, never suspended any owner for life, and never undertaken to confiscate an owner’s team for any offense, much less an alleged offense originating in a conversation in a private setting that was illegally recorded.
Pierce O’Donnell, an attorney for Shelly Sterling, said in a statement Tuesday that her move to sell the team is proceeding as scheduled. Bank of America is assisting her with the sale of the franchise. O’Donnell confirmed that his client has a copy of the letter Mr. Sterling sent to the NBA granting her permission to negotiate the team’s sale.
Numerous business groups have expressed interest in the team, which is estimated to fetch at least $1 billion in what will be a frenetic bidding process. Music mogul David Geffen, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Oprah Winfrey are among potential buyers.
Blecher says Sterling, after overcoming the initial “shock” of the situation, is feeling “much more feisty,” which explains why he “seems to have had a change of heart.”
In the document submitted to the league, Sterling also defends his controversial comments made during a television interview with Anderson Cooper.
“While Mr. Sterling’s opinions may be unpopular and false, they remain opinions,” the document reads.
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