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Elche edged four points clear of the relegation zone with its sixth
straight home game without a loss.LOS ANGELES -- A trial will be held
next month to determine whether Donald Sterling, who opposes his
estranged wifes planned sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, was properly
removed as an administrator for the family trust that owns the team.
An attorney for Shelly Sterling went to probate court Wednesday to
request a trial to confirm that as sole trustee she can proceed with the
$2 billion sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
The development is the latest in a legal tug-of-war that has ensued
following the NBAs decision to ban Sterling for life after racist
remarks he made emerged in a recording in April. Sterling is fighting
the decision and suing the league for $1 billion.
The league has contended that Sterlings comments were bad for business
and damaged both the Clippers and the NBA.
The trial, which was granted exceptionally quickly, will begin July 7
and last four days. The deadline for the sale is July 15, which is also
the date the NBA Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on whether it
will approve the sale.
Donald Sterlings lawyer, Bobby Samini, left the courthouse without
comment after a clerk announced the trial schedule. Neither Sterling was
"I just want to resolve this as quickly as possible," NBA Commissioner
Adam Silver told The Associated Press in Miami on Wednesday, when he
appeared at an NBA Cares event.
The crux of the case will centre on the question of whether the
80-year-old Sterling is mentally competent to be a co-trustee of The
Sterling Family Trust, which gives him the authority to determine the
teams future. According to the trusts terms, he can be ruled "mentally
incapacitated" after being evaluated by two doctors, said Pierce
ODonnell, Shirley Sterlings attorney.
According to court documents, three doctors examined Donald Sterling in
May and concluded that he suffers from "mild cognitive impairment
consistent with early Alzheimers Disease" or some other forms of brain
One doctor, James E. Spar, who is affiliated with the division of
geriatric psychiatry at UCLA, said he believes "Mr. Sterling is at risk
of making potentially serious errors of judgment, impulse control and
recall in the management of his finances and his trust."
"In my opinion he is substantially unable to manage his finances and
resist fraud and undue influence, and is no longer competent to act as
trustee of his trust," Spar concluded.
Dr. Stephen L. Read, who also specializes in geriatric and forensic
psychiatry in Los Angeles, said that X-ray and CT scans of Sterlings
brain conducted May 16 showed "mild atrophy" of brain tissue.
Read said personal opinion and the statements of other doctors provide
"solid grounds for the determination that Mr. Donald T. Sterling lacks
the capacity to function as trustee of the Sterling family estate."
A third doctor, Meril S. Platzer, said during his examination Sterling
was unable to spell the word "world" backward. He was unaware of the
season, couldnt recall two objects after three minutes and had
difficulty initially drawing a clock.
"The score is below normal for his age and advanced education," Platzer
She concluded that Sterling is unable to reasonably carry out the duties
as lead trustee because of impaired information processing and
short-term memory, among other problems.
Sterling had voluntarily gone to the doctors at the request of his wife,
according to a person with knowleedge of the proceedings who spoke on
condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the
details publicly. Willie Roaf Jersey.
Donald Sterlings attorney Maxwell Blecher contested the doctors findings
in remarks Tuesday to The Associated Press.
"Anybody at his age level on a brain scan would probably show some
impairment. But that doesnt mean you forget where your car keys are and
youre incompetent," Blecher said. "There isnt the slightest evidence hes
incapable of managing his affairs."
Donald Sterling said in a statement that hes not just fighting for the
Clippers but taking a stand against the NBA, which he called "a band of
hypocrites and bullies" and "despicable monsters" who want "to take away
our privacy rights and freedom of speech."
"As Ive said previously, if Donald chooses to litigate against us, so be
it," Silver said. "So its going to take longer than we had hoped for
this transaction to close, but itll get done ultimately. Its just a
question of time."
Shelly Sterling recently brokered what would be a record-breaking $2
billion deal with Ballmer to sell the team. Ballmers attorney, Adam
Streisand, said he was pleased with the trial schedule.
"Were extremely encouraged that the court understands the need for an
expedited hearing. Were confident that after the trial the court is
going to bless this transaction," Streisand said.
The NBAs general counsel Rick Buchanan said in a court filing Wednesday
warning that if the judge didnt confirm Shelly Sterlings sole
trusteeship and her deal with Ballmer "is not promptly consummated there
will be substantial harm" to the Clippers, the NBA and even The
Sterling Family Trust -- the last of which would be responsible for the
NBAs costs related to the legal proceedings that result.
He said a recent survey of more than 500 Clippers fans by an independent
expert found the majority would be less likely to support the team if
Donald Sterling remained its owner. Buchanan said thousands of NBA fans
worldwide have contacted the league directly or via social media to say
theyre hurt or embarrassed by his views and arent sure theyll continue
supporting the league and its teams. He also cited NBA player worries
about the impact on the team attracting players during the upcoming NBA
"Mr. Sterlings continued ownership is damaging the Clippers and NBAs
relationships with existing and potential business partners and
licenses," Buchanam wrote. He said nearly all of the Clippers local
sponsors have terminated or suspended their relationships with the team,
including adidas, Commerce Casino and Hotel, Red Bull, Mandalay Bay
Hotel, Virgin America and Mercedes.
The aim of Shelly Sterlings court bid is to have a judge confirm
provisions of the trust to ensure the Ballmer sale moves forward. Donald
Sterling has the right to present his side at any hearing and appeal
any decision. Blecher said that a representative for Donald Sterling
would be at any hearing, and that the next step is to have other doctors
evaluate Donald Sterling.
"I have no doubt at the end of the day the court is not going to say hes
incompetent," Blecher said. "Thats a very high burden in the probate
court -- otherwise people would get their sisters and wife and
brother-in-laws and everybody declared incompetent."
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.