Photo by Craig Dietrich via Wikimedia Commons. National Action Network Los Angeles participants march alongside Staples Center, Los Angeles, during the Donald Sterling case.
Photo by Craig Dietrich via Wikimedia Commons. National Action Network Los Angeles participants march alongside Staples Center, Los Angeles, during the Donald Sterling case.

Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling sued former companion V. Stiviano and the website TMZ.com over the release of a recorded conversation in which Sterling made racially charged comments that led to his lifetime ban from the NBA and the eventual sale of the team, according to court papers obtained Monday.

Sterling, 81, filed the lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming the recording was “surreptitious and illicit” and was “illegally disseminated” by Stiviano and TMZ.

Stiviano’s attorney, Mac Nehoray, said he was unaware of the lawsuit and had no immediate comment. Officials with TMZ could not be immediately reached.

In the recorded conversation, which was made public by TMZ on April 25, 2014, Sterling criticized Stiviano for having her picture taken with black people and told her not to bring them to Clippers games.

According to the lawsuit, Sterling met with “his former friend,” Stiviano, on Sept. 12, 2013, for a “social gathering.”

“During this particular social gathering, and unbeknownst to Sterling and without his consent, Stiviano surreptitiously recorded a conversation between the two individuals during Sterling’s meeting with Stiviano,” according to the lawsuit.

Eventually, Stiviano “and/or her agents,” gave the recording to TMZ, the lawsuit alleges. The suit also alleges that either TMZ or Stiviano “doctored and/or otherwise altered the content of the recording on the tape to reflect conversations between (Sterling) and Stiviano that either never occurred, were grossly distorted and/or stated out of context.”

Following the release of the tape, Sterling “became engaged in a bitter probate dispute between his estranged wife — Rochelle H. Sterling — over the disposition of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team — culminating with the probate court’s confirmation of the sale of (Sterling’s) former Los Angeles Clippers basketball team on Aug. 7, 2014,” according to the lawsuit.

“As a direct and proximate result of both Stiviano and TMZ’s malfeasance with regard to the illicit recording and subsequent dissemination of the private conversation between Sterling and Stiviano, (Sterling) has been damaged on a scale of unparalleled and unprecedented magnitude,” the lawsuit states.

The Clippers were sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Sterling filed for divorce from his wife of nearly 60 years, Shelly Sterling, last week.

Shelly Sterling previously took legal action against Stiviano, demanding the return of what she argued was community property that her husband gave Stiviano, whom she described as “a conniving mistress.”

A judge in April ordered Stiviano to repay Shelly Sterling more than $2.6 million in cash and real estate.

— City News Service 

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