Donald Sterling Hires Investigators To Dig Up Dirt On NBA - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Donald Sterling Hires Investigators To Dig Up Dirt On NBA

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(FOX 11 / AP) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's team of lawyers has hired four private investigation firms to dig up dirt on the NBA's former and current commissioners and its 29 other owners, said a person familiar with Sterling's legal strategy. Investigators were given a six-figure budget over the next 30 days to examine the league's finances, allegations of previous discriminatory conduct and compensation to past Commissioner David Stern and current Commissioner Adam Silver, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday night on condition of anonymity. The person wasn't authorized to talk publicly.

The person said the investigators also are looking into whether other owners made any off-color jokes, or racist or sexist remarks.

"The gloves are off, as they say," the person said. "Have them dig up all the dirt they can find."

The 80-year-old Sterling is suing the NBA for $1 billion in federal court after the league tried to oust him as Clippers owner for making racist remarks to a girlfriend that were recorded and publicized. Silver fined him $2.5 million and banned him for life.

The suit alleges the league violated Sterling's constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.

Sterling's attorneys also will be facing off with his wife's attorneys in probate court during a four-day hearing scheduled for July.

The probate court hearing centers on whether Shelly Sterling had the right to unilaterally negotiate a $2 billion deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Shelly Sterling's attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, said she made the deal as the sole administrator of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the team, after two doctors determined her estranged husband was mentally "incapacitated." Donald Sterling is fighting that conclusion and her authority to sell.

The person who spoke to the AP said Donald Sterling reluctantly agreed to hire private investigators after this week's legal proceedings in probate court. The NBA submitted a legal filing Wednesday urging a judge to confirm Shelly Sterling's authority to sell the team.

"He realized these guys will literally go to any low to get this sold," the person said. "Even if it gets (him) nothing other than exposing all these guys and shaking up the league and seeing a change in the leadership of the league, it'll be worth it to him."

The firms will be engaged in an "audition" of sorts, the individual said: "Whoever delivers the best (material) is going to stay on for the next round and it might be all four of them...29 owners is not a small undertaking."

From Sandra Endo:

It's getting downright dirty in the Donald Sterling saga. The LA Clippers owner reportedly hired a team of private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA's current and former commissioners as well as the league's 29 other team owners.

The private investigators will also examine the league's finances and any past allegations of discriminatory conduct under current commissioner Adam Silver and former commissioner David Stern.

They will also look into any racist or off-color jokes made by any other team owner, according to an article in the Associated Press.

His latest move is drawing strong reaction from basketball fans, LA resident Dusty says, "he's not going down quietly, this is all ego for him at this point. It's not about money. He thinks this is a personal attack. But all this is still a win win for him."

Another LA basketball fan, Lee Howard says, "honestly, I think Donald Sterling is wacko. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth. One day he's fine with the sale, the next he's not. I hope Shelly gets the deal done and we can all move on. The Clippers deserve that."

This latest move is in addition to the one billion dollar lawsuit Sterling filed against the NBA after the league banned him for life and fined him 2.5 million dollars for his racist remarks.

The 80-year old billionaire is also facing his wife, Shelly Sterling, in probate court over whether she has the sole right to sell the Clippers after two doctors determined Sterling was mentally incapacitated.

He is opposing her authority to sell.

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