Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling files for divorce

Then-Clippers owners Donald Sterling and his wife Shelly Sterling watch the team play the Spurs on Nov. 7, 2012.

Then-Clippers owners Donald Sterling and his wife Shelly Sterling watch the team play the Spurs on Nov. 7, 2012.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Donald Sterling filed for divorce Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, almost a year after a contentious legal fight with his wife, Shelly, led to the sale of the Clippers.

Court papers cited “irreconcilable differences” between the couple, who would celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in less than three weeks.

However, the court later rejected Wednesday’s filing because it was incomplete, according to a spokeswoman. The matter is expected to be re-filed.


The documents alleged that Shelly Sterling has refused to distribute her husband’s share of the record $2-billion sale of the Clippers.

Half of the amount is in an escrow account controlled by the NBA pending the outcome of Donald Sterling’s federal lawsuit against the league. The remainder went to Shelly Sterling.

Donald Sterling’s attorney, Bobby Samini, said that “more or less” his client hasn’t seen a dime from the sale.

“Donald hereby demands an accounting and distribution,” the court filing said.

An attorney representing Shelly Sterling didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Last year, she removed her husband as a member of the family trust after two doctors declared him to be mentally incapacitated in the wake of his inflammatory recorded comments about African Americans. That cleared the way for her deal to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer.


Donald Sterling called his wife a “pig” during a probate hearing in L.A. Superior Court in July 2014 that examined the circumstances of the sale.

The judge in the case ruled that Shelly Sterling acted properly in removing her husband as a trustee and negotiating the sale of the Clippers. That allowed the sale to Ballmer to close on Aug. 12, 2014, ending Donald Sterling’s 33 years as the team’s owner.

As part of the sale agreement, Shelly Sterling retained a variety of perks linked to the franchise, including being named its “Number 1 fan.”

Even after a string of legal defeats, Donald Sterling continues to fight the sale in court.

In March, he added Shelly Sterling as a defendant in his lawsuit against the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. He accused her of conspiring with the league to sell the Clippers against his wishes.

That lawsuit said Shelly Sterling “fraudulently induced” and “fraudulently arranged” for the doctors to examine Donald Sterling last year.

This led to “extreme mental distress .. including worry, anxiety, anger, embarrassment, sleeplessness and fatigue” for him, the lawsuit said.

The couple separated in August 2012, according to Wednesday’s filing.

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