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V. Stiviano was not Donald Sterling's mistress, her lawyer says

Donald SterlingV. StivianoLos Angeles Clippers

V. Stiviano, the woman who recorded the rants that led to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling's banishment from professional basketball, was never his mistress, her attorney said Tuesday.

Calabasas lawyer Mac Nehoray said reports that Stiviano was in a romantic relationship with Sterling are false. "It's nothing like it's been portrayed," Nehoray said. "She's not the type of person everyone says."

He said the 31-year-old who often sat courtside with Sterling at Clippers games is still reeling from the release of the recording in which Sterling chastises her for associating with African Americans, including Magic Johnson.

She recorded the conversation, Nehoray said, but had no role in providing the damaging tape to TMZ, the website that first broke the story. The conversation occurred at her home in September in the presence of another person and Sterling knew he was being recorded, Nehoray said. He declined to state the purpose of the recording, but said it was "by mutual agreement."

"My client is devastated that this got out," he said, adding that he and his client "have an idea" of who released it. Nehoray declined to identify that person.

"Someone released it for money," he said.

He also insisted that Stiviano and the 80-year-old team owner never had a sexual or romantic relationship and that descriptions of her as his mistress in the media and in a lawsuit filed by Sterling's wife are erroneous.

Rochelle Sterling, who has been married to Donald Sterling for more than 50 years, filed suit against Stiviano in March in an effort to reclaim a $1.8-million apartment, luxury autos and cash he gave her. The suit asserted that Stiviano struck up a sexual relationship with the Beverly Hills billionaire after they met at the 2010 Super Bowl. He was the latest in a string of rich men she had seduced, the suit contends.

Nehoray said those claims were false.

"She had no association with any rich people before this," he said.

Stiviano's lawyer said his client was a hardworking young woman who supported herself working as a waitress and who volunteered to help crime victims, before signing on to work as an archivist for Sterling. He did not elaborate on what the archivist job entailed. Stiviano also helped Sterling manage his charities, a job her attorney said she greatly enjoyed and now misses.

Nehoray said Sterling's wife was friendly with Stiviano and was aware that he had purchased an apartment for her.

Rochelle Sterling's attorneys did not return calls and emails for comments.

harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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Donald SterlingV. StivianoLos Angeles Clippers
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