By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A charitable foundation to be run by Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling, whose estranged husband, Donald Sterling, is being forced to sell the NBA team after making racist remarks, will have a stake in the franchise, a source close to negotiations said on Monday.
The foundation can have up to a 10 percent share in the team, the source said. It will be co-chaired by Shelly Sterling and former Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who has agreed to buy the team from Sterling for $2 billion.
“Those who will benefit (from the foundation) will be abused and battered mothers, underprivileged children and particularly those in urban, minority communities,” the source said.
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The foundation, which has yet to be named, will play no part in team operations, according to the source, adding Ballmer had the option to take over 100 percent of the foundation on Shelly Sterling’s death.
In April, Donald Sterling, 80, was banned for life by the National Basketball Association and fined $2.5 million after a tape recording of disparaging remarks he made about black people was leaked to the celebrity news website TMZ.com.
The remarks, released during the Clippers’ playoff run, provoked a wave of public outrage, resulting in sponsors severing ties with the team and players considering a boycott. Most NBA players are black.
Donald Sterling has said his remarks to a “lover” were part of a jealous quarrel that was illegally recorded under California law.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking before Game 2 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio on Sunday, said he encouraged Shelly Sterling to put a portion of the sale proceeds into a foundation she would control.
“It will not be a Clippers foundation, it will be a Shelly Sterling foundation or some other name she chooses,” Silver said.
The foundation will not be subject to approval by NBA owners when they vote on approving the sale of the Clippers to Ballmer, the source said.
Donald Sterling’s attorney, Maxwell Blecher, declined to comment on the foundation.
Shelly Sterling gained control of the family trust that owns the Clippers last month after neurologists deemed that her husband had Alzheimer’s disease.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Peter Cooney)