Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Buys Clippers for $2 Billion
Good news everyone. We are now one step closer to never having to write a story about Donald Sterling ever again. Late last night, his estranged wife Shelly Sterling signed an agreement to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2,000,000,000.
Yes, I could have written it $2 billion, but I wanted to remind you how big a number that is.
Now, if you’re a little bit confused about this whole situation, that’s understandable. Last Friday it was reported that Sterling had “handed the reigns” of the Clippers over to his estranged wife and agreed to let her negotiation the sale of the team. However, “handed over the reigns” isn’t a technical legal term, so it was slightly unclear what that meant. Then on Tuesday, his lawyers made all sorts of noise about how he was not going to sell the team, but would instead fight “until the bloody end.”
So what gives? Does Shelly Sterling have the authority to sell the team or not?
The short answer: probably.
According to “sources,” Shelly Sterling was very recently given sole control over the Sterling Family Trust when “experts” declared Donald Sterling “mentally incapacitated.” Thus, the announcement that Donald Sterling has “agreed” to let her sell the team was probably an attempt to save face. Then, in all likelihood, Donald decided to screw saving face and go out in a blaze of glory. Hence Tuesday’s sabre-rattling. However, at the end of the day, Shelly Sterling’s legal standing as sole trustee must be pretty ironclad, having been vetted by whole teams of lawyers, otherwise Ballmer and the NBA wouldn’t have bothered making the deal official.
So the lesson in all this? Well one, don’t be a racist. But two, if you’re setting up a trust, don’t make it so easy to be declared “mentally incapacitated.”
I’m not saying I feel bad for Sterling, because the guy is an asshole and he’s still going to make over a billion dollars on the sale of the team after taxes. But I am saying it’s kind of crazy that he could be divested of his property so easily.
Aren’t lawyers amazing?