Thursday, May 24, 2018

A woman kept for show

For someone who loves to share photos of herself online, little is known about V. Stiviano the 31-year-old woman at the center of the scandal involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Here are some key details about Stiviano and her fight with Sterling:

What's with the name? Stiviano was born Maria Vanessa Perez in October 1982 in Los Angeles, but petitioned to change her name to V. Stiviano in 2010. There's no explanation for what the name means, but her stated reason in the court filing was, "Born from a rape case and having not yet been fully accepted because of my race." Stiviano says she is of black and Mexican descent. Her bio lists her as an "artist, lover, writer, chef, poet, stylist, philanthropist."

How she met Sterling: A lawsuit filed in March by Sterling's wife, Rochelle, claims Stiviano met Sterling at the 2010 Super Bowl.

Legal troubles: Rochelle Sterling claims Stiviano received $2.5 million in gifts from the Clippers owner. A big piece of the suit involves a duplex Stiviano purchased in December for nearly $1.8 million with money that Rochelle Sterling claims Stiviano received from her husband. Stiviano's name appears on the deed, and Rochelle Sterling is asking a judge to transfer the property to her and her husband. She accuses Stiviano of engaging "in conduct designed to target, befriend, seduce, and then entice, cajole, borrow from, cheat and/or receive as gifts transfers of wealth from wealthy older men whom she targets for such purpose."

Stiviano fights back: In response to the suit, Stiviano and her lawyers use as part of their defense Sterling's reputation as a savvy businessman. From the document:

"This is an action brought by a very angry wife whose husband is a highly public figure and who is well known to be 'keeping women' other than his wife and who has done so for very many years with a big toothy grin brandishing his sexual prowess in the faces of the Paparazzi and caring less what anyone else thought, the least of which, his own wife....

"The 'relationship' ... between Mr. Donald T. Sterling and Ms. V Stiviano was open, notorious, obvious and long standing. Ms. Stiviano attended hundreds of events, participated in myriad charity functions sponsored by Mr. Sterling, and was a veritable 'fixture' at his business offices over the last four years.

"Mrs. Sterling is not even hinting that her billionaire philandering husband had performed any clandestine acts behind her, as it is alleged that Mr. Sterling was making gifts to V Stiviano since 2010.... Mrs. Sterling pleads her absolute knowledge of a long standing history of similar acts of Mr. Sterling who is infamous for his gold plated dalliances....

"Nowhere in the complaint is it alleged ... that the feminine wiles of Ms. Stiviano overpowered the iron will of Donald T. Sterling who is well known as one of the most shrewd businessmen in the world."

Reporting: Associated Press, Los Angeles Times

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