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Donald Sterling to pay $2.725 million to settle housing discrimination lawsuit [Updated]

Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling applauds with seconds remaining as his team comes from behind to beat the Sacramento Kings last week at Staples Center.

Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald T. Sterling has agreed to pay a record $2.725 million to settle allegations that he discriminated against African Americans, Hispanics and families with children at scores of apartment buildings he owns in and around Los Angeles.

The settlement, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer, is the largest ever obtained by the Justice Department in a housing discrimination case involving apartment rentals, officials said.

If approved, the settlement would also resolve a pair of lawsuits by former tenants of Sterling who alleged they were discriminated against because of their race.

[Updated at 1:10 p.m.: In the court documents describing the agreement, Sterling and his wife, Rochelle, deny any wrongdoing. They describe the agreement as "a compromise of disputed claims" and not an admission of any liability.]

Under the agreement, Sterling and his wife would pay $2.625 million to a fund for people who were harmed by their discriminatory practices, officials said. They would also pay a $100,000 penalty to the government.

“The magnitude of this settlement demonstrates our commitment to vigorously prosecute violations of the Fair Housing Act,” Thomas E. Perez, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “With tight mortgage credit and rising foreclosures, it is more important than ever that minorities not face discrimination when renting apartments.”

The Justice Department sued the Sterlings three years ago, accusing them of favoring Korean tenants while seeking to exclude blacks and families with children. Through their Beverly Hills Properties, the Sterlings own and manage about 119 apartment buildings with some 5,000 units in Los Angeles County, according to the Justice Department.

In court filings, Justice Department lawyers presented evidence that the Sterlings made statements “indicating that African Americans and Hispanics were not desirable tenants and that they preferred Korean tenants” occupy buildings they owned in Koreatown.

Had the case gone to trial, an expert would have testified that an analysis of the Sterlings' rental practices in Koreatown revealed that they rented to far fewer African Americans and Hispanics than would be expected, based on demographics. As part of the settlement, the Sterlings will be required to pay for an independent contractor to monitor their employees' compliance with the Fair Housing Act over the next three years. The results of the tests would be reported to the Sterlings and to the government.

-- Scott Glover

Photo: Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling at a game. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (91)

Sterling and his wife - who operate the apartments - have to be national nominees for the most dreadful people to ever exist. No wonder clubs have black ball rules. Its to keep people like Sterling out. Fines for these two aren't enough. Talk about reasons why the human race is doomed: just look at Donald Sterling!

Racism is alive and well in Los Angeles, Players should boycott there games while African Americans and Latino's don't pay for tickets to attend games.

I wonder if the players new before they signed contracts with this fool what type of person he really is would they still have signed the contracts.

Rush whats his name would have fit right in with this Jerk.

Good for the Justice Department, but probably a drop in the bucket for Donald Sterling.

A good argument that no one should have so much power and money he can play God with people's lives.

No way, I thought racism and discrimination was a thing of the past, according white America. Maybe it's just my imagination working overtime again. Darn.

Bravo Mr. Perez!

Donald Sterling is a loser just like his Clippers. What a travesty and a sham that the money goes to a fund, how about giving the money to the people whom he discriminated against who tried to rent some of his apartments? He should be forced to sell some of his apartment buildings to someone who is fair and honest and color blind; this man is obviously a racist!

Is it really such a bad thing to want to keep your property nice and clean, without 18 people living in a two bedroom? Or without someone on the curb selling drugs. I think you should be able to do what ever you want with property you own.

Did he discriminate against Korean families with childrens too?

This is further proof that Korean tenants make the best tenants! We're the best!


Is this the same guy who rents high-rise apts? You know, the dude who flashes a wide smile across the pages of this very newspaper on those self-serving ads? Wow! Life's been rough to him! I thought he'd be much younger and less physically worn.
I just keep thinking what those 2.7 millions could've done to improve the Clippers!
Oh well, I hope the fellows who won the lawsuit know to make good use of that money.

The fact that he is a Jew surprised me. Too bad the Nazi never finished what they started.

This comes as no suprise, especially after reading the article about how Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor was treated within his organization.

There are plenty of these types of racist people around.
I'm going to cancel my Clipper's season tickets.

Don is a piece of racist crap. I will NEVER buy anything he owns, watch the clippers or support his sponsors. What a worthless racist bigot. He is prime of example of why racism exist and will forever.

Don Sterling = KKK

Oh, when was the last time the clippers won a NBA Title KKK Don? Huh? Idiot.

Now we have a better idea of why the Clippers are such horrible organization. To receive such a settlement the discrimination must have been obvious. Sterling is not a leader and uses horrible business tactics. Any self respecting Latino or African American should boycott his franchise and not allow him to profit by attending any of this events.

I believe in the freedom of everyone. I don't believe someone should be discriminated against because of their race or religion or sexual orientation.

However, if Sterling were to prove that 20 somethings were more likely to cause damage to a property and decided that it would not be a wise business decision to rent to them would that be considered discrimination? To me that just seems like smart business.

Perhaps Sterling was being blatantly racist without any studies behind the business decision and without looking at various tenant applications unbiasedly. If that's the case he should be fined.

This only stands to strengthen Elgin Baylor's claim of discrimination against his Clippers, too.

Funny...no comments on this?

I wonder if it's because of all those atrocious looking advertisements Donald Sterling takes out in the L.A. Times.


I understand how this kind of discrimination can harm the innocent. At the same time, there aren't many Koreans shooting each other and selling drugs in this city. During the last riots, it wasn't the Koreans burning down buildings and looting stores. Because you don't know much about the individuals to whom you rent, renting to Koreans is safer, on average. They are more likely to be gainfully employed and their kids do better in school and are less likely to be involved in crime, and as a result, your property value will increase. Come on now, tell the truth. Would you feel safer in a building full of Koreans, or in a building full of African-Americans or Latinos. But yes, law-abiding African-Americans and Latinos are harmed by ethnicity-based practices like these, and so it is not unreasonable for it to be illegal. After all, if you take the risk-based argument further, you wouldn't hire or rent to anyone with a Y chromosome.

It is funny that he discriminates against Blacks and Latinos when he had a mistress for years that happen to be a Colombian (Latina)woman that was 30 years younger than he was. He is a hipocite and shem on that old fart.

And this guy is ALWAYS posting his ads in the Times weekly about his charity funds for the poor and disadvantaged. What a sham and contradiction he and his operation is! Helping the less fortunate, but on the other side of the coin, he just doesn't want those same people renting his properties. Shame on him and Rochelle both!

Will Mr. Sterling also pay for display ads in the Times with his picture and self-congradulations about creating the special fund?

If nothing else Donald Sterling is consistent. He's discriminated against allowing decent basketball players into the Clipper organization as well but he's paid out much, much more. I think a contracted salary of one of his players would be much more fine.

What no comments? Sterling is one of the most loathed people in LA - and most likely the comments are so filled with vitriol the Times must censor. Of course Sterling is a major advertiser.

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