The Los Angeles Clippers debacle has been dragged out since the NBA playoffs and today racist owner Donald Sterling may finally be forced to sell the team.
Judge Michael Levanas of Los Angeles County Superior Court confirmed that Rochelle Sterling, estranged wife of Donald Sterling, has the authority to proceed with the record $2 billion sell of the Clippers. Billionaire Steve Ballmer is set to become the next owner of the Clippers.
According to Judge Levanas, Shelly Sterling followed the directions of the family trust in removing Donald Sterling as co-trustee. The judge’s ruling also included that the sale of the team could go ahead as scheduled without waiting for what is likely a long appeal process.
Right is Right
Overcome with relief and satisfaction after the ruling, Shelly Sterling wept during media interviews. Donald Sterling was not in the courtroom Monday, I assume to insure he does not roar expletives and insults at those who disagree with him.
Pierce O’Donnell, Rochelle Sterling’s lead lawyer said:
“This is a new day in Los Angeles and a new day for the Los Angeles Clippers 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.”
While the initial whistleblower, V. Stiviano, is not mentioned in O’Donnell’s post-victory speech, she also captured a victory against hate speech in America.
Wrong is Wrong
Maxwell M. Blecher, one of Donald Sterling’s lawyers said at the post-hearing press conference:
“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.”
According to expert witness Anwar Zakkour, Bank of America’s co-head of technology and media investment, the quality of the judge’s analysis was at an all-star level. Zakkour testified that the sale of the Clippers is nearly twelve times the team’s revenue. That sort of ratio is unheard of in business evaluation.
Judge Levanas also mentioned in his ruling, preventing the sale could cost the Sterling trust as much as $400 million; the difference between Ballmer’s bid and the next highest:
“Under all these scenarios, there is a massive loss in value.”
The NBA released a statement too, voicing their pleasure that the court ruling had sided in favor of Shelly Sterling before raising hopes that a transaction could be completed soon.