V. Stiviano had grown accustomed to being the glamorous companion of Donald Sterling, the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Once a catering truck operator from Boyle Heights, now she lived in a house Sterling bought her, drove a red Ferrari that he gave her and sat courtside at Staples Center.
In early April, though, their relationship became strained. Sterling’s wife, Shelly, had sued Stiviano in March, charging that the 31-year-old had extracted four luxury cars, $240,000 in cash and the $1.8-million house from her 80-year-old husband.
Shelly Sterling also put a lien on the house that her husband had given Stiviano. Six days later, on April 9, Stiviano got a text from a Clippers employee: Donald Sterling had ordered the tickets, parking pass and luxury suite access he had given her for that night’s game to be sold.
Stiviano texted that it didn’t matter — another regular had given her tickets. The employee texted back: “Mr. Sterling said to let me know if you need anything. We don’t want to have any issues at the game.”
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