Tuesday a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sided with the estranged wife of ex-Clippers owner Donald Sterling and ruled that V. Stiviano must give back the $3 million she received from the beleaguered NBA team owner.
Shelly Sterling argued successfully that her husband was giving away community property when he showered the 32-year-old Stiviano with a $1.8 million duplex and $800,000 in stocks, luxury cars, and cash.
Stiviano and her lawyers insisted that the gifts were given to her when Donald and Shelly were separated and that Shelly Sterling couldn’t seek them from a third party, reported the Daily Mail. “Their marriage had difficulties,” wrote Judge Richard Fruin Jr. “However, the parties continued to live together, to travel together, to hold parties together and to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together.”
The NBA banned Donald Sterling for life and ultimately forced him to sell the Clippers after making despicable racist remarks in a private conversation that Stiviano recorded. The spurned ex-mistress unleashed a media firestorm when she leaked the recording to TMZ back in April 2014.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Stiviano claimed in court that she and her family members made a share of the mortgage payments on her home. However, Fruin concluded that Sterling alone purchased the duplex after examining evidence, including his company’s bank statements and testimony from both Sterling and Stiviano. “Ms. Stiviano testified that Donald Sterling made payments to her or for her benefit that she acknowledged were gifts,” Fruin said.
Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said that “Shelly is thrilled with the decision and it is a victory for the Sterling family.”
Mac Nehoray, V. Stiviano’s attorney, said that his client would appeal Fruin’s ruling.