V. Stiviano must return pricey gifts to Shelly Sterling, judge rules

V. Stiviano (left) and Shelly Sterling (right) are seen in these undated file photos.

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that V. Stiviano must return $2.6 million in gifts to Shelly Sterling, the wife of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Judge Richard Fruin Jr. awarded Shelly Sterling most of the nearly $3 million she had sought.

"Shelly is thrilled with the decision. This is a victory for the Sterling family in recovering the $2,630,000 that Donald lavished on a conniving mistress. It also sets a precedent that the injured spouse can recover damages from the recipient of these ill-begotten gifts," Pierce O'Donnell, Shelly Sterling's lawyer, said in a statement Tuesday night.

Shelly Sterling had claimed that money used to buy V. Stiviano a house, luxury cars and stocks was her community property.

During the course of their 2 1/2 years together, Donald Sterling gave her a Ferrari, a Bentley and a Range Rover, and paid the lion's share of a $1.8 million duplex.

Stiviano's lawyer had argued the gifts were made when Donald and Shelly Sterling were separated and that Shelly Sterling couldn't seek them from a third party.

Attorney Mac Nehoray said he and his client were disappointed and would appeal the ruling, which is tentative and will become final in 15 days if there are no objections.

"We are very disappointed. Judges are supposed to interpret the law not make them. Ms. Stiviano will definitely appeal," he said in an email.

Nearly a year ago, Stiviano's recording of Donald Sterling making racially offensive remarks cost him ownership of the Clippers and bounced him from the NBA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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