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Former Sterling employee claims sexual, racial harassment

By Stella Chan and Jason Hanna, CNN
updated 8:06 PM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
  • Woman who worked for Sterling says he sexually harassed her, made racist remarks
  • Maiko Maya King claims she had a romantic relationship with Sterling
  • Lawsuit alleges Sterling "dangled money only if" King would have sex with him

(CNN) -- A woman who says she twice worked for L.A. Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling sued him this week, alleging that he sexually harassed her and made her uncomfortable with racist remarks -- and that he once fired her after she objected.

Maiko Maya King's lawsuit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges she and Sterling were in a romantic relationship from 2005 to 2011, and that she "worked for him and his foundation" before her irritation at what she claims were his racially offensive remarks split them apart.

King alleges Sterling made racist comments about her former husband, who is black, and about the couple's children.

"Why would you bring black people into the world?" Sterling allegedly said, according to the lawsuit. The suit also alleges Sterling said: "I want to take you out of the black world and put you into the white world."

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Referring to King's former relationship, Sterling would tell her, "You ran away with a black boy," including once at a table full of people at a restaurant, according to the lawsuit.

In addition, the lawsuit quotes Sterling as allegedly telling King that she had "moved to the ghetto" and that "Black people do not take care of their children. All they do is sit at home and smoke dope."

An attorney for Sterling, Bobby Samini, told CNN that King's claim was "baseless and ridiculous."

"She was never employed by Donald Sterling," he said. "Her claim was obviously prompted by opportunistic motives."

Gloria Allred, King's attorney, told CNN Tuesday that her client has "quite a bit of evidence. We have voice mails. We have texts."

Allred said King returned to work for Sterling after having a "problematic relationship" with him because she knew his girlfriend was V. Stiviano, the woman who released his now-infamous audio recording.

"She knew V. Stiviano was his girlfriend and she felt then she wouldn't have to have sex with him and she came back into his employ as his caretaker, " Allred said.

The lawsuit claims that after King re-established contact with Sterling in late 2013, he hired her as his "personal assistant/caretaker" with an agreement to pay her $10,000 a month.

However, the suit says, he "dangled money only if she would have sex with him," and she "refused to perform many of the acts."

"She was introduced as his caretaker. And she was promised wages and she was not paid those wages. So she is entitled to be paid for her work, and that's what this lawsuit is all about," Allred said.

Sterling fired her after she protested against the alleged sexual harassment and racist remarks he allegedly made, the suit says.

The lawsuit said King was at Sterling's home one day when he was on the phone with former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and she heard him make "derogatory comments of a sexual and racial nature" about Johnson.

Sterling's public troubles began in April when TMZ posted a recording in which he was heard making racist comments.

Sterling's inflammatory remarks to Stiviano spawned outrage among NBA fans, players and executives. Chief among the latter was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who banned Sterling from the league, fined him $2.5 million and pushed through a charge to terminate all of his ownership rights in the franchise.

Sterling, an attorney and billionaire real estate mogul, is now fighting to keep his co-ownership of the NBA franchise.

In the recording, Sterling argues with Stiviano about how she posted a photo of herself with Johnson to Instagram.

"In your lousy f**ing Instagrams, you don't have to have yourself with -- walking with black people," Sterling says.

"If it's white people, it's OK?" the woman responds. "If it was Larry Bird, would it make a difference?"

Bird was also an NBA star who played with the Boston Celtics and a storied rival of Johnson, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sterling's camp, in turn, has filed a lawsuit, claiming that the NBA move to terminate his ownership "is unconstitutional, in breach of contract, in restraint of trade, in breach of fiduciary duties and ... is malicious and oppressive."

The lawsuit seeks more than $1 billion from the NBA for its decision to ban him for life and force him to sell the franchise.

It comes amid fresh questions about the 80-year-old's mental state, raising the issue of how much control he has or should have with the Clipppers.

Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, last week agreed to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Official: Suspect in alleged Stiviano assault surrenders

Sterling sues NBA for $1 billion as questions over his mental state loom

CNN's Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.

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