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In court papers, Jeanie Buss says brother was 'completely unfit' to run Lakers' basketball operations

In court papers, Jeanie Buss says brother was 'completely unfit' to run Lakers' basketball operations
Jeanie Buss fired her brother Jim as executive vice president of basketball operations and replaced him with Lakers legend Magic Johnson on Feb. 21. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Lakers President Jeanie Buss said her brother Jim was “completely unfit” to run the team’s basketball operations in a document filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"I must also point out that Jim has already proven to be completely unfit even in an executive vice president of basketball operations role and I recently had to replace him," Jeanie Buss said in the document.

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The four-page declaration from Buss was attached to her motion for a temporary restraining order and provided a window into the struggle for control of the team. She wanted to prevent Jim Buss and their brother Johnny from holding a meeting next week to vote on a new board of directors for the Lakers.

Jeanie Buss wasn't among the four directors the brothers proposed: themselves, AEG President Dan Beckerman and investor Romie Chaudhari. She argued that violated the four trusts that govern the family's 66% stake in the team. The trusts mandate that Jeanie Buss be the controlling owner.

Attorneys for Jeanie Buss withdrew the request for a temporary restraining order Friday after the brothers signed a document the night before reelecting their sister as controlling owner. Adam Streisand, an attorney for Jeanie Buss, said he does not believe that resolved the broader issue of her place on the board. A trial is scheduled for May 15.

Last month, she fired Jim Buss and installed Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations, part of wide-ranging changes in the front office.

"Despite the fact that I gave my brother Jim ample time to prove himself in his role … I could not allow the damage being done to the franchise over the past few years to continue," the declaration said.

Jeanie Buss also expressed concern in the declaration that if the brothers chose a new controlling owner, the person would fire Johnson and "cause irreversible damage to the Lakers team and to the brand."

She has declined to comment because of the ongoing litigation; Jim Buss has not returned a phone message seeking comment.

Twitter: @nathanfenno

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