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Gov. Brown signs law banning tax write-offs for pro sports fines

Shelly Sterling sits with her husband, Donald Sterling, during a Clippers game against the Detroit Pistons in 2010.
(Mark Terrill / AP)

Professional sports team owners will no longer be able to write-off league penalties from their taxes under a new law signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill was inspired by the record $2.5-million fine levied by the National Basketball Assn. on then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, after his recorded comments about African Americans sparked a public uproar.

Sterling was also banned from the league for life; his wife later sold the team to Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

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Assembly members Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) introduced a measure soon after prohibiting franchise owners such as Sterling from deducting such fines as an operating expense on their taxes.

Bocanegra said Monday that the bill, AB 877, will “close this egregious loophole in the tax code. These fines are intended as punishments, and owners shouldn’t be rewarded with multimillion-dollar tax refunds.”

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.


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