Donald Sterling’s attorney assailed V. Stiviano and Shelly Sterling on Wednesday in the aftermath of a Los Angeles County Superior Court ruling that Stivano must return $2.6 million in gifts the former Clippers owner provided.
“Ms. Stiviano’s 15 minutes of fame expired long ago,” the attorney, Bobby Samini, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
“The litigation against Ms. Stiviano is and has always been Shelly Sterling’s pet project and merely extended Ms. Stiviano’s time in the public arena. The sums spent by Shelly Sterling in pursuing this matter likely exceed any amount that will be recovered.”
Shelly Sterling sued Stiviano last year to reclaim property that included four automobiles, cash and a $1.8-million home. Donald Sterling wasn’t party to his wife’s lawsuit against his onetime companion.
Less than two months later, an audio recording of Sterling making inflammatory comments about African Americans to Stiviano became public. That led to Sterling’s lifetime ban from the NBA and the forced sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer.
Last month, Sterling described Stiviano as a “former friend” in a filing in his federal lawsuit against the NBA. He had previously called her a “lover” in court documents, though she maintained they weren’t romantically involved. Sterling also alleged in the court filing that the audio recording was “apparently altered” by Stiviano.
“We remain perplexed that so much time, energy and money have been allocated to litigating with Ms. Stiviano,” Samini said, “while $1 billion of the Clippers sale continues to be held hostage as a result of the NBA’s conduct.”
Half of the $2 billion Ballmer paid for the Clippers remains in an escrow account controlled by the NBA pending the outcome of Sterling’s lawsuit over the Clippers’ sale.
Shelly Sterling is among the defendants in the case.