Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Who Are Donald Sterling's Women, Really? (Name Changes All Around)

In light of speculation that Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling's lifetime ban from the NBA yesterday might lead to his wife of 50 years, Rochelle, becoming the majority owner of the team, I became interested in learning more about her, and about the mysterious "mistress" who recorded Donald Sterling's racist ramblings.

According to Wikipedia, Donald Sterling was born in 1934, in Depression-era Chicago, the son of Jewish immigrants. His birth name was "Donald Tokowitz." His family moved to Los Angeles when he was two years old, where in 1955, at the age of 21, he met and married Rochelle "Shelley" Stein. Somewhere around this time Donald Tokowitz apparently changed his last name to "Sterling."  That's apparently how Shelley became "Rochelle Sterling."

It was Rochelle Sterling herself who, just last month, sued the 31 year old woman who made these now infamous recordings, seeking to recover a $1.8 million duplex that Donald Sterling had allegedly given her, along with luxury cars (two Bentleys, a Ferrari, and a Range Rover) and $240K in cash for "living expenses."  It was in those court documents that Rochelle describes the woman, currently going by the name "V. Stiviano" (formerly Vanessa Maria Perez, before changing her name legally in 2010, according to Yahoo), as Donald Sterling's "mistress," a characterization the woman herself has denied through her lawyer. According to the Los Angeles Times today, "He also insisted that Stiviano and the 80-year-old team owner never had a sexual or romantic relationship and that descriptions of her as his mistress in the media and in a lawsuit filed by Sterling's wife are erroneous...The suit asserted that Stiviano struck up a sexual relationship with the Beverly Hills billionaire after they met at the 2010 Super Bowl. He was the latest in a string of rich men she had seduced, the suit contends..."

As it turns out, "V. Stiviano," who was born in San Antonio in 1982,  moved to LA in her teens and attended the same high school in East Los Angeles in the 1990s as had Donald Sterling and his wife  60 years ago, according to an extensive investigation into her background published in the Mail Online today HERE. This article also speculates that "V. Stiviano" had previously had a similar relationship with the octogenarian owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dr. Jerry Buss, who died last year. Buss and Sterling were both LA-based real estate moguls and had been friends and associates for years.  When Buss bought the Lakers in 1979, he sold some of his holdings to Donald Sterling to raise part of the purchase price.  And it was Buss who, a couple of years later in 1981, encouraged Sterling to buy the Clippers, all as detailed in Sports Illustrated  HERE.

If "V. Stiviano's" insistence that she was given a $1.8 million duplex (along with luxury cars and $240K in cash) as compensation for three years' work as Donald Sterling's platonic "archivist" doesn't strain credulity sufficiently, perhaps Rochelle Sterling's skepticism about the nature of her husband's relationship with the 31 year old, self described, "black and Mexican" archivist was enhanced by the fact that, in a lawsuit filed a decade ago by Donald Sterling himself against another former mistress of his named Alexandra Castro (seeking the return of cash and gifts he had given her), Donald Sterling testified under oath, according to the New York Times that,“It was purely sex for money... I probably didn’t tell my wife.”

But if Rochelle Sterling was skeptical about the relationship between her 80 year old husband and yet another, much younger woman of Hispanic heritage, she didn't show it in THIS happy group photo at a November 2011, party that's been posted on TMZ, in which Rochelle Sterling is all smiles, posing next to V. Stiviano.

Perhaps Rochelle sued V. Stiviano in March 2014 not because Rochelle suddenly discovered that octogenarian Donald Sterling's 31 year old "archivist" was actually his mistress, but rather because Rochelle, a child of the Depression herself, hit the roof when she discovered how much that job paid....

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