LOS ANGELES — 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.
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.
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.