Donald Sterling's 2002 Battle With an Ex-Mistress Has Similarities to Today
Clippers owner sued woman who claimed he was her sugar daddy.
April 30, 2014— -- Drama surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his family often involves a volatile combination of pretty women, allegations of racism and lots of money.
The embattled basketball owner was fined $2.5 million and banned for life from the NBA on Tuesday for allegedly spewing a racial rant to a woman named V. Stiviano about African-Americans.
Stiviano, 31, who has denied she leaked the recordings of Sterling’s reported comments, is currently tangled in a legal battle with Sterling’s estranged wife, Rochelle Sterling. Stiviano has also denied her relationship with Sterling was romantic.
The latest lawsuit mirrors in many ways another from 2002 in which Sterling and his wife sued a woman named Alexandra Castro, now 42, for allegedly converting ownership of a Beverly Hills house into her name. The Clippers owner and real estate tycoon claimed there had been a verbal agreement to put the home in the name of his family trust while he permitted Castro to live in the home and remodel it for resale.
Castro, who was 30 at the time, filed a cross-complaint, alleging Sterling bought the house for her during their three-year relationship "as a result of his love and affection for me,” according to one of her sworn declarations in the dispute.
The suit between Rochelle Sterling and Stiviano also centers on a home the Clippers owner bought. Rochelle Sterling is suing Stiviano for the return of community property including $1.8 million duplex, a Ferrari, Range Rover and two Bentleys she claims her husband gave to Stiviano without her consent, after Stiviano allegedly targeted her husband for his money. Stiviano claimed the property and cars were gifts from Sterling, and that his wife was aware of them.
"There certainly seems to be some similarities," Douglas Bagby, the attorney who represented Castro in the suit against Sterling and his wife, told ABC News. "You know, beautiful women who have relationships with Mr. Sterling, in which he then seeks to recover properties or values transferred to them during that relationship."
Bagby said Sterling would change his testimony during the case.
"I came to the conclusion that he had no personal integrity," Bagby said of the disgraced Clippers owner.
The 2002 suit against Castro involved a Rodeo Drive home Castro claimed Sterling bought for her in return for quitting her job in order to cater "to his every need and comfort.” Castro said Sterling instructed her to pretend she had a job making $7,000 a month in public relations at his office to obtain the property, and afterward sent her a note saying, "Hope you love your beautiful home. I know you will always find health, happiness, and success there." He also wrote that she deserved everything, according to her declarations.
Castro said Sterling wanted her to have her own place so he could visit and she produced photographs and airline tickets proving the pair traveled to Hawaii, France, Rome, Mexico and other romantic destinations, according to the suit. One photograph described in court documents is alleged to show Sterling in Castro's apartment in just his underwear.
Castro received a $4,500 monthly allowance from Sterling, she claimed. She described feeding, dressing, bathing and cooking for Sterling, who was 68 at the time and who she described in court documents as "very demanding" and "very particular."
"He gave me specific instructions on how to remove his socks, and if I did not do it exactly the way he wanted his socks removed, he would order me to put them back on and do it over again," she wrote in a declaration in 2003.
Castro painted Sterling as a sugar daddy who promised he would "purchase the residence and pay for all of the remodeling, furnishings, and all other expenses, including any taxes,” and claimed that he himself suggested she put the property in her and her mother’s names, according to court documents.
She claimed that Sterling ended their relationship in the summer of 2002, but then she said he had a change of heart and "repeatedly attempted to persuade me to resume our relationship."