Donald Sterling, former owner of the NBA’s L.A. Clippers, has sued celebrity website TMZ and ex-girlfriend V. Stiviano over recordings Stiviano made that eventually cost the billionaire businessman his team, the New York Daily News is reporting.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Donald Sterling is a billionaire that few people outside of Los Angeles had ever heard of — that is, until April, 2014, when he was recorded making racist statements. The married, then-80-year-old businessman was recorded telling his mistress, V. Stiviano, that he didn’t want her hanging around with black men. The recordings were made public, and the ensuing drama became a media spectacle and series of legal maneuvers that eventually forced Sterling to sell the Clippers against his will.
On Friday, Sterling filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that TMZ and V. Stiviano violated his privacy and caused damage on a “scale of unparalleled and unprecedented magnitude.”
At issue is whether or not the recordings Stiviano made of Sterling’s racist remarks were made legally, and whether or not TMZ was right in subsequently publishing them. Stiviano has maintained that she had Sterling’s permission to record him — Sterling maintains that she did not.
According to The Digital Media Law Project, California is a “two-party consent” state, meaning that any recording of a person is illegal unless all parties involved in the recording have consented to being recorded.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal salvos Sterling has lodged toward just about everybody he believes has crossed him since 2014. Sterling currently has pending lawsuits against the NBA, two doctors, and his wife, Shelly Sterling, against whom he is also currently involved in divorce proceedings, according to the Washington Post. As Sterling steadfastly refused to sell his team, his wife, Shelly, had him declared mentally incompetent to handle his business affairs, thus giving her control of the Clippers. She then sold the team to Microsoft exec Steve Ballmer.
Stiviano’s lawyer, Mac Nehoray, tells the Los Angeles Times that he thinks Donald Sterling simply enjoys filing lawsuits and can’t stand not being in the public eye.
“It’s ridiculous if he says he was damaged by [the sale] when he made $2 billion. I think he’s just a litigious person. Unless he has something going on in the public eye, he can’t exist.”
As of this post, TMZ has not publicly commented on Donald Sterling’s lawsuit against the outlet.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images / Ronald Martinez]