LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Shelly Sterling will go to probate court on Wednesday to seek an emergency order for a hearing so a judge can confirm her authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, according to an individual familiar with the matter.
The individual was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Shelly Sterling brokered what would be a record-breaking $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to sell the team after her husband and co-owner Donald Sterling made racist comments to a girlfriend that were recorded and publicized. The NBA moved swiftly to oust him as an owner.
But Donald Sterling has vowed not to sell and is suing the NBA for $1 billion.
Shelly Sterling contends she is the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the team. Donald Sterling was stripped as co-trustee after two neurologists last month determined he was suffering from dementia and “mentally incapacitated” under the trust’s conditions, according to a person who is familiar with the trust and the medical evaluations but could not speak publicly.
The aim of Shelly Sterling’s court bid is to have a judge confirm provisions of the family trust to ensure the Ballmer sale moves forward without a hitch. Donald Sterling has the right to present his side at any hearing and appeal any decision.
His attorney Maxwell Blecher said a representative for Donald Sterling will likely be at any hearing.
“We expect to oppose Shelly’s efforts to take over the trust and sell the team without (Donald Sterling’s) consent,” he said in an email to CBS News.
Donald Sterling’s attorneys have called the idea that he is mentally incapacitated “absurd.”
On Monday, Donald Sterling pulled his support from the Ballmer deal. He instructed his attorneys to prosecute the lawsuit against the NBA that alleges the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.
Donald Sterling agreed to ink the deal and drop the suit last week assuming “all their differences had been resolved,” his attorneys said. But individuals close to the negotiations who weren’t authorized to speak publicly said he decided to not sign the papers after learning the NBA won’t revoke its lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine.
Donald Sterling’s comments to V. Stiviano included telling her to not bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in outrage from the public and players and even President Barack Obama.
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