Donald Sterling suing NBA for $2bn as LA Clippers row continues

The billionaire's lawyers called the recording of him making racist remarks 'illegal'

Donald Sterling is suing the US National Basketball Association (NBA) for $2 billion (£1.2 billion) damages for relying on an “illegal” recording of him making alleged racist remarks.

His lawyers claim the organisation violated the billionaire’s constitutional rights, committed a breach of contract by fining him and violating anti-trust laws by forcing a sale.

The NBA has called off a hearing to oust him as owner of the LA Clippers before a vote on a deal negotiated by his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion (£1.2 million).

It is the latest twist in the long and increasingly bitter saga that started when an audio recording emerged on the gossip website TMZ of him arguing with his assistant, model V Stiviano, about her posting a picture on Instagram posing with Ervin ‘Magic’ Johnson.

The embattled 80-year-old previously refused to pay a $2.5 million (£1.5 million) fine levied against him by the NBA, who banned him from the organisation for life.

Mr Sterling has insisted he is not racist but the NBA charged him with damaging the group with the comments and set a date in June for co-owners to terminate his control of the Clippers.

There have been increasing questions about his mental health and two neurologists determined he was suffering from dementia earlier this month, according to a person close to the Sterling family.

The person said Mr Sterling was deemed “mentally incapacitated” because he showed “an inability to conduct business affairs in a reasonable and normal manner”.

He is still identified as a co-trustee for the team in legal papers and his lawyer, Bobby Samini, said claims that over his mental wellbeing are “absurd”.

A spokesman for the NBA called Mr Sterling’s attempt to win damages “predictable but entirely baseless”.

Rick Buchanan said: “Among other infirmities, there was no ‘forced sale’ of his team by the NBA — which means his anti-trust and conversion claims are completely invalid.

“Since it was his wife Shelly Sterling, and not the NBA, that has entered into an agreement to sell the Clippers, Mr Sterling is complaining about a set of facts that doesn't even exist.”

Mr Sterling’s lawyers argue that he still needs to approve any sale and will not give permission for the team to be transferred to Mr Ballmer.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Arts and Entertainment
tv'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there