According to a report from ESPN, disgraced I’m-no-racist (but he has pretty much confirmed he is) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has authorized his wife Shelly to negotiate a sale of the team:
Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate a forced sale of the team, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.
Shelly Sterling and her lawyers have been negotiating with the NBA since commissioner Adam Silver banned her husband from the NBA for life on April 29 for making racially charged comments on an audiotape.
Although the league has yet to accept this arrangement, sources said that if she is willing to sell the entire team with terms that are acceptable to the league, this could bring a startlingly quick end to what appeared to be a protracted legal battle
This appears to be less a “no mas” on Sterling’s part than perhaps a recognition that if there’s a long legal battle he would either not win or could own a team repudiated by much of the public, NBA basketball players and members of his own team. He’s a businessman and this suggests his take on it isn’t favorable in the long run in terms of the bottom line. More ESPN:
Shelly Sterling does intend to sell the Clippers, but it remains unclear how much of a share — if not all — she’s willing to sell, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Sources said the only way the NBA would accept the terms of this agreement between Donald Sterling and his wife would be if the team was sold in its entirety.
Among the issues Shelly Sterling is considering, the source said, are the substantial tax obligations she would incur from the sale.
According to IRS rules, the Sterlings would have to pay a federal long-term capital-gains tax of 20 percent and a California tax of 13.3 percent. The tax would be on the difference between what the team was bought for and what it is ultimately sold for. If the team is sold for $1 billion, the Sterlings would be taxed $328.5 million on the sale. Sterling bought the team from Irv Levin in 1981 for $13.5 million.
In addition to the lifetime ban, Donald Sterling was fined $2.5 million by Silver after the release of a TMZ recording in which he told a female friend, V. Stiviano, not to bring black people to Clippers games.
The NBA filed charges to terminate Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers this week. He has five business days — until Tuesday — to respond to the charges. A hearing was set for June 3 in New York, with a vote of the board of governors to take place thereafter.
Sterling quickly discovered he had little support out there almost from the very beginning of this controversy.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.