Details emerged Thursday about a previous legal imbroglio between Donald Sterling, his wife and another woman that bears striking similarities to the March lawsuit that appears to have triggered events leading to the Clippers’ owner’s banishment from the NBA.
In a series of suits a decade ago in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Beverly Hills billionaire and his wife, Shelly, accused a woman named Alexandra Castro of being a “gold digger” and demanded that she return a million-dollar house on Rodeo Drive purchased with the Sterlings’ money.
Castro, Shelly Sterling alleged in a 2003 lawsuit, “lures wealthy, older men in to her web of deceit by offering them economic opportunities, then sexual favors and then attempts to fleece them and their assets.”
Castro, the daughter of a Colombian immigrant who had worked at Taco Bell and as a secretary in the years before she met the real estate mogul, maintained that the home had been a gift during a three-year affair that was well known to his wife and other Sterling family members. She said Sterling claimed his five-decade marriage was a “business relationship” in which they slept in separate bedrooms in their Malibu mansion and openly carried on affairs with others, according to court documents.
Sterling initially denied any romantic relationship under oath, but when confronted at a deposition with hotel bills and photos, including one showing him in Castro’s bedroom in his underwear, he acknowledged the affair, court records show.
The sides reached a confidential settlement in 2004.
In March, Shelly Sterling filed a suit against V. Stiviano, making many of the same claims the couple made against Castro. Her suit also described Stiviano as gold digger and once again demanded the return of real estate – this time a $1.8-million residence Stiviano had purchased with her husband’s money.
In that suit, Shelly Sterling alleged that Stiviano “engages 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 who she targets for such purpose.”
Clippers President Andy Roeser said Stiviano had sworn to “get even” for the suit and blamed her for the release of the now-infamous recording in which Sterling rails against her public association with blacks.
Stiviano has said through her lawyer that she and Sterling never had a sexual affair and that she had a “friendly” relationship with his wife before the lawsuit. Her attorney also said his client did not release the recordings to the media.
Attorneys for the Sterlings have not responded to requests for comment. Castro could not be reached for comment either.