It’s been one year since Donald Sterling had the Clippers stripped from him in a death penalty verdict. Sold to the highest bidder, the Clippers gladly relinquished all memory of their lunatic owner who they tolerated at best. At the time of the sale, Sterling’s wife Shelly insisted he was mentally incompetent which surprised absoluetely no one, considering his behavior had been erratic for years. The forced relinquishment of the team was a sudden breath of fresh air for those subjected to Sterling’s rants and whims and racism and for the league as a whole.
Throughout the entire 2014-15 season the mention of Sterling’s name was one of those whispers at halftime. Remember Donald Sterling. I wonder what he is doing?
Now we know. He is occupying himself with legal maneuvering, having given up on the idea that the Clippers need and/or miss him. His latest move, a divorce from his wife of 60 years (the petition indicates he and Shelly have been separated since 2012) was the latest legal filing from his team of attorneys.
Sterling’s paranoia has broken new ground. He thinks Shelly has stolen a billion dollars of the Clippers $2 billion dollar sale money. In other words, rich people are fighting other rich people. Yawn. Sterling’s lawyers filed a probate court petition asking for all of the assets of the sale to be accounted for so he can figure out where his portion of the sale money (community property he claims) has gone.
But the facts are Sterling himself is impeding the entire $2 billion dollars from being transferred because he has a pre-existing lawsuit against the NBA. According to him, by stripping the team, the NBA trampled on his ownership rights. That may sound good in Sterling’s wandering mind but it doesn’t line up with the record. His lawsuit is preventing the fiduciary agreements from being met. Half of the purchase price has been frozen by the court. Sterling has to drop the lawsuit to see the other billion dollars. Meanwhile, Shelly had to pay about $600 million dollars in taxes after the sale was funded.
Sterling’s attorney, Bobby Samini, justified the probate filing this way: “There’s still a billion from the sale that hasn’t been transferred. We want to know where the money went. A billion is a lot of money. We want to know who was paid what after the closing of the escrow. She may have paid the taxes. We haven’t seen any evidence of that. My client can’t continue to sit by while his rights are being trampled.”
Insert laughter. His rights being trampled? Suddenly, Donald Sterling is the victim. For years Donald Sterling was the victimizer giving his tenants no mercy, harassing them as a business tactic, denying them human decency. He profited from the bigotry he wielded upon the poor and black and powerless with his fugue of hatred. But now he is the one asking for clemency and grace.
Sterling is an old man now whose brain is compromised by dementia. Whatever he does is going to be peculiar and out of step with logic. This latest legal filing is just a reboot of the familiar Sterling business tactic. Sue. Argue. Take the enemy to court. Sterling is everything he created and now he is a pariah in the NBA, banned at Staples Center, a prisoner in his own failing body. This is not a comedy nor is it a drama, it’s just one of those silent movies that loses a little bit of interest every time Sterling yells about his life not being fair.
photo via somosnba.com