LOS ANGELES (CNN)-
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the National Basketball Association, which on Monday “initiated a charge” seeking to terminate all ownership rights in the franchise, the NBA announced in a written statement.
Sterling, who owns the team with his wife, Shelly, through a family trust, will also be allowed to make a presentation at a special Board of Governors meeting scheduled for June 3.
In order to terminate the Sterlings’ franchise rights, 75% of the other 29 owners would have to vote to sustain the charge and force a sale.
The 80-year-old lawyer and billionaire real estate investor is already fighting a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban imposed by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Through his lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, the longtime owner has argued he has been denied due process.
The league said its reputation and relationship with its fans have been damaged by Sterling’s racist remarks to V. Stiviano that were posted online in April by TMZ and in an interview with CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”
“Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities’; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities,” the statement said.
Last week, Sterling hired Blecher, an antitrust lawyer who has worked with him in the past, to fight the NBA.
Shelly Sterling has said she wants to keep an ownership stake in the team but doesn’t want to be the controlling partner.
CNN reached out to attorneys for Donald and Shelly Sterling on Monday but didn’t hear back immediately.
The Clippers’ turbulent season ended late Thursday in a 104-98 loss to Oklahoma City. The Thunder won the series four games to two.
By Steve Almasy and Jill Martin
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