Donald Sterling’s lawyer says client “far from mentally incompetent”
If you can only be sure of three things they should be death, taxes, and that Donald Sterling was going to fight the idea that he was mentally incapacitated (and the sale of “his” Clippers to Steve Ballmer).
Donald’s wife Shelly, who owns half of the Clippers through the Sterling Family Trust, reportedly had Donald declared mentally incapacitated under the terms of the trust (which had contingencies for such things). With that done she reached an agreement to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The league has been informed of the sale and is awaiting the paperwork.
Donald Sterling will fight it all, that’s how he’s wired, starting with the suggestion he is mentally incapacitated. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN received and email from Donald Sterling’s attorney.
Donald Sterling's lawyer Max Blecher says in an e-mail, " Mr. Sterling is far from mentally incompetent."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Blecher said he was aware of the evaluations of Mr. Sterling this month, but called the results "grossly exaggerated"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Donald Sterling was evaluated by neurologists earlier this month, source tells ESPN.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Notice he says “incompetent” as opposed to her attorney’s wording of “incapacitated,” arguing over the minutia of those kinds of definitions and how it applies to a broader document is what lawyers do. Whether or not Donald Sterling is by definition incapacitated depends on the terms in the trust, plus what was found on the neurological exams. We cannot judge Sterling’s mental state from the edited snippets of the CNN interview with Anderson Cooper we saw. There have been reports Sterling was suffering from some form of dementia (as well as prostate cancer) but the only evidence is with the doctors (who are the only people qualified to judge the evidence).
Whether what Shelly Sterling did will hold up in court remains to be seen.
Which is why the league has said it is awaiting all the details and paperwork of the sale to Ballmer and for now is still moving ahead with plans for a June 3 Board of Governors meeting on the issue. At that meeting other 29 NBA owners would conduct a hearing then vote on whether to strip Sterling of his ownership of the franchise in response to the backlash that followed his prejudiced comments on a recording released to TMZ, plus later in a CNN interview. The NBA has filed official charges against Donald Sterling, as required by its constitution, and he has responded through his attorney.
Bottom line: This is all headed to the courts. As expected. But know that sources say the NBA worked with Shelly Sterling to make sure all her ducks were in a row on this — the league would prefer the voluntary sale to them taking over the team.