Can we talk about the gold digger for a minute?
Lost in the raging controversy over Donald Sterling's apparent racism, and whether he has a future as the owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, is the illicit relationship he is accused of cultivating with V. Stiviano, who, at 31, is young enough to be the 80-year-old Sterling's granddaughter.
Maybe, you are thinking, the Sterlings have some sort of "arrangement" where he is free to pursue sexual gratification outside the marriage.
But court documents indicate that Rochelle Sterling is not entirely on board with her husband's behavior. Otherwise, why would she file a $2.5-million lawsuit against Stiviano, accusing her of seducing Donald Sterling with an eye on his bulging wallet?
This lawsuit is similar to one that the Sterlings filed more than a decade ago against Alexandra Castro, for whom Donald Sterling purchased a house before he sued her to get it back. That case generated a raunchy deposition by Sterling, in which he explained, among other things, that he paid Castro for sex but considered her "a total freak" and "a piece of trash." The parties settled out of court.
The lawsuit filed by Rochelle Sterling last month in Los Angeles Superior Court says Donald Sterling lavished gifts on Stiviano "as part and parcel of their sexual relationship."
It accuses of Stiviano of engaging in conduct "designed to target, befriend, seduce and then entice, cajole, borrow from, cheat and/or receive as gifts transfers of wealth from wealthy older men whom she targets for such purpose … One such target was D. Sterling."
The lawsuit demands that Stiviano return the gifts -- a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys, a 2013 Range Rover worth a combined $500,000, plus $240,000 in cash and a sweet little Spanish-style duplex near the Beverly Center that cost about $1.8 million. Rochelle Sterling claims the expenditures amounted to a theft of community property.
And maybe they did. But that ain't Stiviano's problem.
Stiviano's name, after all, is on the grant deed for the duplex, recorded last December. So good luck wrestling the real estate back, Mrs. Sterling.
If Rochelle Sterling ends up divorcing her husband, she can certainly claim that he owes her half of the money he spent on Stiviano if it she can demonstrate it came out of communal funds, according to a family law attorney with whom I consulted.
But suing the mistress to recoup the fruits of an affair? That's a stretch.
Stiviano and Sterling appear to have engaged in a time-honored swap. She conferred youth and sexual vitality on his aging bones. And he paid her with prestige, proximity to power and cash.
I have a sense the relationship between Donald Sterling and Stiviano was falling apart before Rochelle Sterling went to court.
That could explain the timing of the current scandal, which broke on Friday when TMZ posted the recording, which the website said took place on April 9. A month earlier, on March 7, Rochelle Sterling filed the lawsuit against Stiviano. In the complaint, she says she was told -- and that she believes -- that her husband had already demanded that Stiviano return "all community property assets transferred and gifted by him to her." The lawsuit says Stiviano refused.
If that is true, it means that Donald Sterling had already asked for everything back.
Sheesh, that could make any mistress mad enough to turn on a tape recorder.
Stiviano's relationship with the man on the recording already seems precarious -- disposable, even. When she challenges him about his racism, he calls her a "mental case" and puts her on notice:
"If my girl can't do what I want," he says, "I don't want the girl. I'll find a girl that will do what I want. Believe me."
When he chastises her for "associating with black people," she protests. "You also associate with black people," she says.
"I'm not you and you're not me," he replies. "You're supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl."
"I'm a mixed girl," Stiviano replies. "And you're in love with me. And I'm black and Mexican, whether you like it or not."
The man on the tape does not sound like a man in love. He sounds like a racist, sexist control freak who is befuddled that his plaything has the temerity to challenge him.
I'm rooting for the gold digger.