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Woman must repay $2.6m to wife of 'racist' ex-Clippers owner

A WOMAN who was showered with gifts from former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been ordered to return them to his ex-wife.

V. Stiviano, whose recording of his racially offensive rant cost him ownership of the team, will be made to surrender a $1.8 million duplex and return $800,000 lavished on her in cash handouts and several luxury cars, including a Ferrari, during a secret romance.

Sterling’s ex-wife, Shelly, claimed that Stiviano seduced her 80-year-old husband and manipulated him to give up community property the couple amassed through a real estate rental empire built over six decades of marriage.

"Shelly is thrilled with the decision," attorney Pierce O'Donnell said.

Stiviano's recordings toppled Donald Sterling and "took us both down," Shelly Sterling testified at trial last month. "We lost the team. They were like another child."

Stiviano was partly undone by those same phone recordings.

"Everything that I have you've given me from your heart without me begging or asking or throwing myself all over you," Stiviano could be heard telling the billionaire in a clip played at trial to show they plotted to shield gifts from his wife.

Judge Richard Fruin Jr. rejected arguments by Stiviano's lawyer that the gifts were made when Donald and Shelly Sterling were separated and that Shelly Sterling couldn't seek them from a third party.

Stiviano’s attorney said she would appeal the decision.

The ruling comes nearly a year after the recording of Sterling telling Stiviano not to associate with black people caused uproar and led the NBA to ban him for life and fine him $2.5 million.

With the NBA threatening to seize the team, Shelly Sterling got hold of a family trust by showing her husband had signs of Alzheimer's disease and negotiated a record $2 billion sale to ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Her husband failed to block the sale in court and has sued his wife and the NBA in federal court.
The couple presented a united front at the Stiviano trial, discussing their enduring love for each other.

Sterling initially sought about $3.6 million from Stiviano, a figure an accountant said was a conservative estimate of the gifts that included the $240,000 Ferrari, a Bentley, a Range Rover, extravagant spending sprees and world travel.

After Fruin said he was having difficulty connecting all the money to Stiviano, lawyers for Sterling reduced their claim to $2.6 million, based on evidence and Stiviano's own admissions.

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