LOS ANGELES — A judge has ruled that Donald Sterling’s former companion, V. Stiviano, will have to repay more than $2.6 million in cash and real estate as a result of a lawsuit brought by Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling’s attorney said Tuesday.
The 12-page ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin Jr. marks a victory for Shelly Sterling, who complained that her husband inappropriately shared community assets without her consent during a time when the couple was still legally together, he said in a statement.
“Shelly is thrilled with the decision,” said attorney Pierce O’Donnell of Greenberg Glusker. “This is certainly a victory for the Sterling family, whose funds were dissipated by Donald to lavish millions of dollars of gifts on a conniving mistress.
“The decision also has broader significance in today’s society. Shelly has set a precedent while defending the rights of all spouses to protect their community property.”
Under the ruling, Stiviano, 32, must return a $1.8 million Spanish-style duplex in Los Angeles and $830,000 in cash — $430,000 that had been given in cash as gifts and the rest as reimbursement for a 2012 Ferrari, a 2007 Bentley and a 2013 Range Rover, O’Donnell said.
The defense contended during the trial last month that when Stiviano received the gifts between 2011 and 2014 the Sterlings lived separately, according to the attorney. But the judge found that “the evidence does not support that conclusion” and that, during that time, the Sterlings “continued to live together, to travel together, to hold parties together and to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together.”
Fruin also found that Donald Sterling, 80, unsuccessfully “sought to disguise and thus to conceal his gifts to Stiviano” by creating “evidentiary challenges,” such as the use of cashier’s checks to fund the house and the luxury cars, O’Donnell said.
Donald Sterling was stripped of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers last year after the release of a recording in which he makes racial remarks to the mixed-race Stiviano, urging her not to bring black friends to Clipper games.
Shelly Sterling then negotiated the sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
Greenberg Glusker also represented Shelly Sterling in the sale of the Clippers.