Billionaire loses appeal to reverse $2B sale of LA Clippers

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his appeal Monday to regain the team his estranged wife sold last year for a record $2 billion after he was booted from the NBA for making discriminatory remarks about blacks.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal said Shelly Sterling properly removed her husband from a family trust that owned the team and that the sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer prevented the trust from an "extraordinary loss."

Shelly Sterling took control of the family trust after a recording surfaced of Donald Sterling making offensive comments to a young girlfriend about blacks and other minorities.

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The NBA fined him $2.5 million, banned him from the league for life and threatened to seize and auction the team.

Shelly Sterling was able to take control of the trust after two doctors found her husband of nearly six decades had signs of Alzheimer's disease.

The 81-year-old billionaire sued his wife to block the sale, but a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled against him and approved the sale in July 2014.

The appeals court said Donald Sterling failed to show the judge committed any legal error.

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Billionaire loses appeal to reverse $2B sale of LA Clippers
In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, and V. Stiviano, right, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to his Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Clippers owners Donald Sterling and his wife Rochelle Stein watch the Clippers play the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of their NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
File - In this Dec. 30, 2011, file photo, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, watches the Chicaco Bulls play the Los Angeles Clippers along with Clippers owners Rochelle Sterling, center, and Donald Sterling during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. If Donald Sterling is compelled to sell the Clippers, the list of potential buyers will have more stars than the team's roster. Mayweather Jr. wants to form a group to buy the team. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2011, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling gestures while watching the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. Sterling only dug himself into a deeper hole after slamming Magic Johnson when he was supposed to be atoning for his own racist remarks. But he's not the first celebrity to learn the perils of making a non-apology apology. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is intent on moving quickly in dealing with the racially charged scandal surrounding Clippers owner Sterling. The NBA league will discuss its investigation Tuesday, April 29, 2014, before the Clippers play Golden State in Game 5 of their playoff series. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling looks on during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Shelly Sterling sits with her husband, Donald Sterling, right, during the Los Angeles Clippers' NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. An individual with knowledge of negotiations to sell the Clippers says Shelly Sterling has reached an agreement to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The individual, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press on Thursday, May 29, 2014, that Ballmer and the Sterling Family Trust now have a binding agreement. The deal now must be presented to the NBA. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling closes his eyes as he watches the Clippers play the Utah Jazz during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, upper right, watches the Golden State Warriors play the Clippers during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 10, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
In this photo taken on Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, center, and V. Stiviano, right, watch the Clippers play the Sacramento Kings during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in Los Angeles. The NBA is investigating a report of an audio recording in which a man purported to be Sterling makes racist remarks while speaking to his Stiviano. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement Saturday, April 26, 2014, that the league is in the process of authenticating the validity of the recording posted on TMZ's website. Bass called the comments "disturbing and offensive." (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: NBA Basketball player Chris Paul (R) Los Angeles Clippers introduces U.S. President Barack Obama at the Walker Jones Education Campus, on July 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke to area youth about My Brothers Keeper Initiative during a town hall meeting. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers stands on the court against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: Chris Paul #3 and J.J. Redick #4 of the Los Angeles Clippers during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers dribbles the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots a foul shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 13: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers loses possesion of the ball to Serge Ibaka #9 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final seconds in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 13, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The three-judge panel also noted that before Sterling refused to sign off on the sale he had congratulated his wife on the price she negotiated.

"Wow, you really did a good job," he exclaimed.

The price was $400 million above the next best offer and far above what anyone thought the team, a perennial loser that was on the rise, would fetch.

Donald Sterling, an attorney who amassed a fortune by buying apartment buildings around Los Angeles, bought the team in 1981 for $12 million.

Sterling has a lawsuit pending in federal court against his wife, the doctors who examined him and the NBA.

He filed to divorce Shelly Sterling this year.

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