Donald Sterling’s wife of more than 50 years describes his alleged mistress as a gold digger who seduces older, wealthy men and persuades them to shower her with gifts, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on March 7.
The Clippers team owner and a woman identified as V. Stiviano allegedly began an affair after meeting at the 2010 Super Bowl game and were still in the relationship as of the filing date, according to the lawsuit filed by Rochelle H. Sterling, who is described in the suit as "a married woman seeking to protect and recover community property in her individual capacity."
Rochelle Sterling alleges that her husband used community property to buy Stiviano a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover, worth a total of more than $500,0000.
Sterling also allegedly gave Stiviano $1.8 million to buy a duplex on West 4th Street near the Beverly Center last December, according to the suit, which claims that Sterling additionally provided her with $240,000 for upkeep and living expenses.
The property was supposed to be held in the Sterlings’ name, Rochelle Sterling contends, but Stiviano has title and has refused to relinquish it. Arguing that the gifts were all allegedly made without Rochelle Sterling’s knowledge or consent, the complaint seeks their return along with compensatory damages.
The suit, which includes as defendants unnamed agents and employees of Stiviano, alleges that before the complaint was filed, Donald Sterling asked her to return the property. The complaint also says that Stiviano goes by several other names, including Vanessa Maria Perez, Monica Gallegos and Maria Valdez.
[Updated at 8:15 p.m. PDT, April 26, 2014: In a court filing, Stiviano’s attorney, Mac Nehoray, argues that a gift cannot be revoked by the giver and that there is not “a peppercorn of a fact” that any fraud or undue influence was involved.
Nehoray further says that nowhere in the lawsuit does it say that “the feminine wiles of Ms. Stiviano overpowered the iron will of” Sterling, “who is well known as one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world.”]
Late Friday, TMZ posted an audio recording it said captures Sterling making racist statements in the course of an argument to a woman identified as V. Stiviano. The Times has not confirmed the authenticity of the tape.
The Clippers released a statement Saturday in which President Andy Roeser says the team does not know if the man recorded is Sterling, but that the comments do not reflect Sterling's "views, beliefs or feelings."
Furthermore, Roeser claims the woman on the tape is the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the Sterling family that claims she embezzled more than $1.8 million. Sterling told Roeser that the woman said she would "get even" with Sterling for bringing the lawsuit against her.
The person identified by TMZ as Sterling can be heard in the recording, said to be made this month, telling a female friend, identified as V. Stiviano, that he was upset she posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself next to Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man in the recording says, later adding: “I’m just saying, in your … Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me,” he says. “And don’t bring him to my games.”
The NBA released a statement saying it was conducting a “full investigation” into the recording.
“The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in the statement, “but at this time we have no further information.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti said through a spokesman Saturday that he condemns the "statements and sentiments" attributed to Sterling. Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who represents a portion of South Los Angeles, went further, saying the council should take a formal position denouncing the remarks and demanding action from the NBA.
Garcetti issued further remarks: "These statements are offensive and despicable and have no place in Los Angeles. I urge the NBA to act swiftly. L.A. fans deserve and demand better."
The Los Angeles chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People had been scheduled to give Sterling the group's lifetime achievement award at its May 15 banquet.
Magic Johnson tweeted that he and his wife would never go to a Clippers game again as long as Sterling owned the team.
“I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans,” Johnson tweeted. “LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.”