Ex-Clippers owner Donald Sterling sued celebrity website TMZ and V. Stiviano over a secret recording, which led to him losing ownership of the franchise

By SI Wire
August 11, 2015

Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sued celebrity website TMZ and former companion V. Stiviano over a secret recording that ultimately led to him losing ownership of the franchise, reports the Associated Press.

Sterling filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court last week just two days after he filed for divorce from his estranged wife, Rochelle, just weeks shy of their 60th anniversary.

The lawsuit claims that Stiviano and TMZ violated his privacy on a “scale of unparalleled and unprecedented magnitude."

A judge in April forced Stiviano to give back $2.6 million worth of gifts to Shelly Sterling, which including Ferrari, a Range Rover, a Bentley and a $1.8 million home that she claimed was community property from her marriage to Donald Sterling.

In April 2014, TMZ.com posted a recording of Sterling chiding Stiviano for being seen with African-Americans in public and warning Stiviano not to bring them to Clippers games.

In the aftermath of that recorded call, NBA commissioner Adam Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him from the league for life, forcing him to sell the franchise he had owned for three decades.

Shelly Sterling was able to remove her husband as a member of the family trust, and former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer ended up buying the team for a record $2 billion.

"It's ridiculous if he says he was damaged by it when he made $2 billion," attorney Mac Nehoray, who represented Stiviano in the previous lawsuit, said. "I think he's just a litigious person. Unless he has something going on in the public eye, he can't exist."

Sterling is also suing the NBA, Shelly Sterling and two doctors, accusing them of conspiring together to force him to sell the Clippers. The doctors said Sterling was mentally incapable of continuing as an owner of the Clippers and maintaining his family trust.

- Scooby Axson

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