Donald Sterling's 2002 Battle With an Ex-Mistress Has Similarities to Today

Clippers owner sued woman who claimed he was her sugar daddy.

ByJames Hill and Rheana Murray
April 29, 2014, 4:30 PM

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.

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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."

Donald Sterling's 2002 Lawsuit Against His Mistress

When she refused, Castro claims that Sterling told her "he would file a lawsuit against me to get back everything he had given me and that he would force me to hire attorneys and spend everything I owned so that I would go broke, and be forced to return to him for financial support."

Sterling acknowledged the pair's relationship, but said it was purely sexual, according to court documents.

He described Castro as a money-hungry "prostitute," a "piece of trash" and a "total freak," according to excerpts of sworn depositions on file in Los Angeles Superior Court -- and he shared intimate and graphic details about his version of their sexual encounters.

"Every time that girl saw me she grabbed my body," he said, according to a transcript of his deposition. "She wanted to pull something and have sex."

He called sex with Castro "the best of the best" and described many occasions "all over my building, in my bathroom, upstairs, in the corner, in the elevator," according to that transcript.

"That's all it was is sex, nothing more, nothing less. I didn't want to have any more sex with her. I couldn't physically," he said in the document.

In her 2003 declaration, Castro also said she was aware of Sterling's allegedly discriminatory real estate tactics, including what she claimed was his stated intention to allow only Koreans to live in his rentals in a Los Angeles neighborhood known as Koreatown, and instructing building managers to not cash the rent checks of tenants he wanted out, so he could evict them for missing payments.

Sterling paid $2.75 million to settle a 2009 lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice involving allegations he discriminated against minorities at apartment buildings he owned in Los Angeles. He denied violating laws but promised an independent contractor would monitor his company's compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

Sterling’s suit against Castro was dropped when the pair reached a private settlement that came as a surprise to Castro's own attorneys, who were not involved in the negotiation. That triggered another suit from Castro’s lawyers against their former client, claiming that she owed nearly half a million dollars in legal fees, court documents state. In a notable twist, Sterling’s attorney, Doug Walton, stepped in to represent Castro.

Sterling paid $200,000 to settle the fee dispute with Castro’s original attorneys and the lawsuit was dropped, according to correspondence between the attorneys obtained by ABC News.

Years later Castro claimed in a deposition with Justice Department attorneys that she had signed the declarations in the dispute with Sterling without carefully reading them, contradicting her signed statements about Sterling’s racial comments about tenants, claiming she had never heard him say anything like that. Sterling has also denied her previous allegations about his business practices. That deposition was related to Sterling's 2009 housing discrimination suit.

Walton could not be reached for comment.

Robert Platt, Sterling's current attorney, declined comment.

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