Was Donald Sterling Generous Father Figure — or Mean Bigot?

(Reuters) — The younger woman behind the downfall of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling painted conflicting portraits of him in court on Friday, calling him a kind, generous mentor and father figure to her but a mean-spirited “con artist” and bigot toward others.

V. Stiviano, 32, also testified that the 80-year-old billionaire real estate mogul spent far more time with her and her relatives during her 2-1/2 years as his personal assistant, driver and confidante than he did with his own wife and children.

“We were so interconnected on a level that was more spiritual. He became my everything and I became his all,” she said, though she denied again under oath that the relationship was ever sexual.

Stiviano took the witness stand for a second day in Los Angeles Superior Court during the trial of a lawsuit brought by Sterling’s wife seeking return of community marital assets she claims her husband gave Stiviano without her consent.

The non-jury trial concluded on Friday, and the judge was expected to render a verdict in the coming days.

Shelly Sterling’s lawyers asked the judge to grant her title to a $1.8 million house her husband had bought for Stiviano, plus more than $1 million in cash they said he lavished on Stiviano for living expenses, credit-card purchases and three luxury cars.

Stiviano has not disputed Donald Sterling’s generosity, though she quibbled over the sums and denied manipulating him. She repeatedly testified that Sterling instead tried to manipulate her.

The apparent contradictions finally led plaintiff’s attorney Pierce O’Donnell to confront Stiviano with the question: “Who is the real Donald Sterling?”

“The real Donald Sterling is a con artist, a bigot. … He’s mean, he’s despicable,” Stiviano replied, before quickly adding that to her, he was “kind, loving, sweet … a mentor, a father. … He treated me as he treated no one else.”

It was Stiviano, of mixed race herself, who recorded the now-infamous racist remarks by Donald Sterling that led the National Basketball Association last year to ban him from life and force the sale of the Clippers franchise he had owned for 33 years.

Shelly Sterling’s lawyers used other recordings Stiviano made of her private conversations with Donald Sterling to support their claims that he had bought her a house and had wanted to conceal it from his wife.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Was Donald Sterling Generous Father Figure — or Mean Bigot?

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close