Buried deep inside l’affaire de Sterling is a good ‘ole fashioned community property dispute. It seems that Sterling, who is still married, has been showering on his girlfriends lavish gifts. Under California Property Law, any money Sterling has, is also the community property of his wife. And technically speaking, he cannot make a gift to others without her say-so. Preceding the release of this tape, Sterling’s wife Rochelle (who seems to have not filed for divorce) is trying to recover money from the girlfriend!
Rochelle Sterling alleges that her husband used community property to buy Stiviano a 2012 Ferrari, two Bentleys and a 2013 Range Rover, worth a total of more than $500,0000.
Sterling also allegedly gave Stiviano $1.8 million to buy a duplex on West 4th Street near the Beverly Center last December, according to the suit, which claims that Sterling additionally provided her with $240,000 for upkeep and living expenses.
The property was supposed to be held in the Sterlings’ name, Rochelle Sterling contends, but Stiviano has title and has refused to relinquish it. Arguing that the gifts were all allegedly made without Rochelle Sterling’s knowledge or consent, the complaint seeks their return along with compensatory damages.
The suit, which includes as defendants unnamed agents and employees of Stiviano, alleges that before the complaint was filed, Donald Sterling asked her to return the property.
These suits happen quite often. By all accounts, Stiviano should have to pay back any money she received. This may, or may not, have played into the decision to release the tapes.