V. Stiviano, the former girlfriend of Donald Sterling, will have to return $2.6 million to his wife, Shelly Sterling, a Los Angeles judge ruled on Tuesday. Shelly had sued the model claiming that Donald did not have the right to spend millions of dollars on her.
Shelly had alleged that the money used to buy Stiviano’s duplex near Beverly Hills, Ferrari, jewelry and designer clothes, was community property. Stiviano’s lawyer argued in court that the gifts were given to his client during a period when the Sterlings were separated and that Shelly could not seek any claim on them. However, the judge rejected the argument and ordered that Stiviano owes most of the nearly $3 million Shelly had sought in the case.
"Shelly is thrilled with the decision," Attorney Pierce O'Donnell said, according to the Associated Press (AP). "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 ruling comes nearly a year after Stiviano's recording of Donald making racist comments was posted on TMZ in April. The move had prompted the NBA to ban the 80-year-old for life, ignited a string of controversies and eventually resulted in the sale of his team.
Donald, the former NBA Clippers' owner, testified in court that he paid for the entire duplex house given to Stiviano and that she had not contributed even “50 cents” to the house, the AP reported. Stiviano, however, claimed that she had contributed an unknown amount of money for the house.
Shelly said in court that she assumed Stiviano was her husband's mistress, and witnesses stated that she had spoken of being "the next Mrs. Sterling," AP reported. Stiviano also reportedly denied having a romantic relationship with Donald, but referred to him as a father figure and lover. Donald reportedly referred to Stiviano as an "ex-friend" and said they never had a physical relationship.