LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has pulled his support from a deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and will pursue his $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA, his attorney said Monday.
“We have been instructed to prosecute the lawsuit,” said attorney Maxwell Blecher. He said co-owner Donald Sterling would not be signing off on the deal to sell.
The $2 billion sale was negotiated by his wife Shelly Sterling after Donald Sterling’s racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as owner.
The lawsuit alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.
Donald Sterling agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming “all their differences had been resolved,” his attorneys said. But he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won’t revoke its lifetime ban and fine.
Shelly Sterling utilized her authority as sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer. The deal would have record-breaking if approved by the NBA’s owners.