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The Baltimore Sun

V. Stiviano, at center of Donald Sterling uproar, tries to lie low

A sign taped on the door of V. Stiviano's duplex near the Beverly Center on Sunday directed visitors to contact her attorney and further stated, "I have no comment."

A woman opened the door slightly and remained behind it while telling a reporter that she was getting ready to go to church and that she had to consult with her lawyer before speaking to the media. A flat-screen TV on the wall was tuned to a basketball game, and a tiny Yorkshire terrier yelped and bandied about.

Another woman inside the house, wearing a pink hat with V. Stiviano written on it in white lettering, provided a flier with the attorney's phone number. Several blocks away, a TMZ star tour bus idled on the side of the street.

Related: NAACP won't award Sterling

Stiviano has been at the center of a controversy over racial comments attributed to Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Late Friday, TMZ posted an audio recording it said captures Sterling making racist statements in the course of an argument to a woman identified as V. Stiviano. The Times has not confirmed the authenticity of the recording.

The Clippers released a statement Saturday in which President Andy Roeser says that the team does not know whether the man recorded is Sterling but that the comments do not reflect Sterling's "views, beliefs or feelings."

Furthermore, Roeser says the woman on the tape is a defendant in a lawsuit filed by a member of the Sterling family that claims she embezzled more than $1.8 million and that the woman told Sterling she would "get even" with him.

The person identified by TMZ as Sterling can be heard in the recording, said to be made this month, telling the woman identified as Stiviano that he was upset she posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself next to Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man in the recording says, later adding: “I’m just saying, in your … Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”

“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me,” he says. “And don’t bring him to my games.”

The NBA released a statement saying it was conducting a “full investigation” into the recording.

“The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in the statement, “but at this time we have no further information.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti said through a spokesman Saturday that he condemns the "statements and sentiments" attributed to Sterling. Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who represents a portion of South Los Angeles, went further, saying the council should take a formal position denouncing the remarks and demanding action from the NBA.

Garcetti issued further remarks: "These statements are offensive and despicable and have no place in Los Angeles. I urge the NBA to act swiftly. L.A. fans deserve and demand better."

The Los Angeles chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People said Sunday it was dropping plans to give Sterling the group's lifetime achievement award at its May 15 banquet.

Magic Johnson tweeted that he and his wife would never go to a Clippers game again as long as Sterling owned the team.

“I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans,” Johnson tweeted. “L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s comments about African Americans are a black eye for the NBA.”

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on March 7, Rochelle H. Sterling, Donald Sterling’s wife of more than 50 years, describes a woman identified as V. Stiviano as a gold digger who seduces older, wealthy men and persuades them to shower her with gifts.

Donald Sterling and Stiviano began an affair after meeting at the 2010 Super Bowl game and were still in the relationship when the lawsuit was filed, according to the filing, which describes Rochelle Sterling as "a married woman seeking to protect and recover community property in her individual capacity." 

Rochelle Sterling alleges that her husband used community property to buy Stiviano a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover, worth a total of more than $500,0000.

The suit also says Sterling gave Stiviano $1.8 million to buy a duplex on West 4th Street last December and provided her with $240,000 for upkeep and living expenses.

The property was supposed to be held in the Sterlings’ name, Rochelle Sterling contends, but Stiviano holds the title to it and has refused to relinquish it. Arguing that the gifts were made without Rochelle Sterling’s knowledge or consent, the complaint seeks their return along with compensatory damages.

The suit, which includes as defendants unnamed agents and employees of Stiviano, alleges that before the complaint was filed, Donald Sterling asked her to return the property. The complaint also says that Stiviano goes by several other names, including Vanessa Maria Perez, Monica Gallegos and Maria Valdez.

In a court filing, Stiviano’s attorney, Mac Nehoray, argues that a gift cannot be revoked by the giver and that there is not “a peppercorn of a fact” that any fraud or undue influence was involved.

Nehoray further says that nowhere in the lawsuit does it say that “the feminine wiles of Ms. Stiviano overpowered the iron will of” Sterling, “who is well known as one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world.”


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