ABC reports that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling filed a civil lawsuit in California State Court on Tuesday afternoon against his estranged wife, Shelly, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and the league itself. The suit charges the defendants with breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud.
There is a concurrent probate court fight between the Sterlings; interim CEO Dick Parsons testified on Tuesday that the longer Donald Sterling owns the team, the more likely it is that the team could lose some of its sponsors, as well as coach Doc Rivers. He said, “The cloud that hangs over the team is the continued ownership of Mr. Sterling. And it manifests itself along several different lines; the easiest to speak to is sponsorship. If one or two or three of the sponsorships go, then everyone goes.”
Parsons added of Rivers, “Doc is, he’s as troubled, maybe more so, than anyone else on the team. He had to stand up and deal with the media. And he has told me he doesn’t think he could be up for that, that if Mr. Sterling remains as owner of the team, he doesn’t think he wants to continue to be the coach.”
But Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini contested:
I don’t understand why they didn’t call Doc Rivers and the players that they wanted to call to give that testimony. That’s surprising to me. I understand that Mr. Parsons had an opinion about what might happen, but they could have easily brought those individuals in to give that testimony themselves. I haven’t heard anybody come into court and say, “I’m going to quit my job,” yet.
Sterling contests the $2 billion deal his wife made with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to sell the team. Shelly Sterling is scheduled to testify Wednesday.