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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)

There is that old saying if it walks like a duck...quacks like a duck.... it must be.... a duck. I was a fool for buying season tickets with LA Clippers. I won't be fooled again. I hope the tenants and Mr. Baylor are paid generously for the pain and suffering they endured as Sterling's wealth continued to grow.

Maybe now he will stop advertising those annoying banquests where he honors....himself?

Everybody needs to realize that racism will always exist in this country. Minorities have never been given a fair chance. If minorities had a fair chance then we would be sitting right next to the Sterlings at the round table and this case wouldn't exist. Slavery would not exist, there would be no such thing as Thanksgiving and the Mexico/US border wouldn't be up. Another example, when George Bush was in office and the minorities were complaining about his politics and views, it was swept under the rug. Ex. Hurricane Katrina and FIMA. But know since there is a man of color in office, everyone has a finger to point or something to say. I only have one thing to say, how does it feel now since the shoe is on the other foot?

Bleeding heart liberal, socialists = L.A. Times. Always vilifying those who make it honestly while "exploiting" those who are perpetual complainers of the unfairness of Capitalism.

Welfare president wow why dont you tell us how you really feel mr KKK . The only reason you use other derrogatory names for the president is because you cant really call him the N word. It must burn you to see a black man so much more intelligent and successful than you will ever be.

Let the man rent to who he wants to rent to. I have lived in LA for 10 years, and guess what; single professionals who have no kids make great renters, and great neighbors. Kids are loud and messy.

As far as not renting to blacks or hispanics, Mr Sterling is on his own! If he said those words, he needs to be punished...on the other hand, if he prefers Koreans for apartments in Koreatown, it makes sense. I lived in K-town, and one of my favorite memories was when Jehova's witnesses came by one Saturday, knocked on the door,saw I was white, and simply walked away after explaining " Sorry, I thought a Korean lived here."

cant blame the guy he owns them he should be able to rent to whoever he wants and doesnt want , koreans don t like blacks or hispanics so why should he lose his good tenents for gang bangers and welfare losers . his property his choice . the hell with this dicrimination bullcrap , the biggest racist i know are black and its all jealosy plain and simple and thank obama biggest racist and great divider for all of this , and rev wright van jones ect ,

This guy has been getting away with this for years. And the tenants he has now are constantly being ripped off by this greedy devil. I'll bet you anything he'll find a way to get back this 3 million somehow, he may start nickle and diming his tenants. No wonder his Clippers suck, karma.

Hell,I would not want African-American tenants either.they are Americas curse

Hey moderator. It's obvious you expose those with ignorant, rash views. So you like vilifying Sterling huh? Why do you condone anti-Semetic comments like John Keane's? Yep, you blocked my comments because resonate with truth.

This case is a strong-arm hold-up by the prosecutor. With runaway juries in L.A. who love to give away other people's money, the Sterlings chose to pay this settlement rather than take their chances with a crazy jury and also save on very expensive lawyers. These are fake cases, easy to charge, difficult to defend. As the article cites, the case is based upon dubious "expert" testimony that there were "far fewer African Americans and Hispanics than would be expected, based on demographics". That is hocus-pocus because there are many other factors at play: e.g. the affordability of the rent for the prospective tenant, the credit history of the prospective tenant, etc. Why should a landlord rent to someone with no income and bad credit? This is just another example of the downward spiral of our society caused by the liberals who love to give away other people's money. Take your pick: have landlords who have upscale apartments and contribute to a better quality of life or have landlords who don't care who they rent to and become slumlords because it is government subsidized housing. Wake up: People with education and values are leaving this city and state. They are fed up with big brother looking over their shoulder so they can't run an honest business. After all the business people leave, who will be left to employ the workers? The government? Think again. The government is bankrupt. More people are taking from the system than contributing to the system. It is a failure in the making. Leave California while you can.

Donald T. Sterling is perhaps one of the most decent and generous men in L.A. if not the state. This is a man who never forgets the qadage that to those who have much, much is expected. This man and his wife have over the years donated millions of dollars to the needs of the poor, the homeless and the disadvantaged. It is not only a disgracve that Mr. and Mrs. Sterling were compelled to settle with those who would extort from them, it is a greater tragedy that these fine people should be slandered in this disgracefull manor.

I see black families in Sterling Plaza. This is all about money and credit scores. The people who bash him here just wish you had a tenth of what he had. But unfortunately calling him a Zionist does not get you out of your section 8 apartment.

very sad.Have ever been to southside chicago? no wonder mr.Donald didn';t want to rent to black cause they live like pigs and trash everything around.If you dont agree go move to southside chicago!

The LA Times is taking a big ad loss chance with this article given all the those "look at how great I am" vanity ads that Donald Sterling places day after day.

An African American or Korean landlord discriminates against Jews in housing. Can you envision the "Anti-Semitic" claims and furor in the headlines!!!??

I hope the Sterlings, next time they are hit up by one of these organizations, hand the directors the business cards of the lawyers who brought this suit, and tell them to ask the lawyers how much they will donate.
Anyone who would be a landlord in a major city is out of his/her mind.

Not enough renters take pride in where they live, and not enough owners take pride in their properties. ergo, blight.

I wonder which crooked lawyers were behind this Crock. Any responsible individual --no matter if your brown, black, yellow, gay, straight, cross-dresser, or a disabled human being can rent or lease from the Sterling's. Just come to my Hollywood neighborhood and you can see for yourself.

God forbid he rents to Koreans in Koreatown. Lets move all blacks to Koreatown, all mexicans into Chinatown, and all chinese into Little Italy. Whats wrong with you? Wait until you own a property and then you're not allowed to choose who moves in. Thats the problem. Then you'll see that all people are not equal. Equal risk that is. After all, risk is what you're trying to limit yourself from. He wasn't discriminating, he was protecting his risk. Wake up!

Discrimination still exist. When I was a renter, the landlord did not want to fix the wear and tear.Now, as a homeower and current in my monthly morgage payment, the governing body of this condominium discriminate against minorities and we have been paying our fees. I was told once not to bring my belonging using the door instead use the window. My granddaughter was called "dirty baby." I almost got beat up once because I conplained of being treated unfairly and mentioned the word discrimination. Now because I complain too much and talk to everyone here, the board sent me a letter which refrains me to talk, violating my right of free speech.The governing body loves being on the board but doesn't like hearing complains. We just want equality and justice.

Yes, all about money, credit scores, and responsibility. I can't wait to see the look on my racist asian neighbors when this black with more money and a better credit score than them moves next door. I have always paid my bills, kept my property clean and I am quieter than my white and asian neighbors. Also lived in Korea for 7 years, I know your dirty little secrets, plenty of scum in your country.

Fact, during my mortgage application for my 2nd home. The loan officer had never seen me person, but assumed that due to my credit history, income and wifes obvious asian name, that I was white. I am happy to say that I am black, thank you very much!

The comments about Koreans are offensive. We are not violin playing, Kimchi eating submissive types you Americans like to stereotype. You are fools.

Come on, now. Elgin Baylor was fired because he was an awful GM. He oversaw a Clipper team that drafted Michael Olowokandi before Vince Carter, and somehow passed Amare Stoudamaire in another draft.

This is interesting, because Sterling was allegedly biased towards one minority groups (Koreans) over another (blacks, Latinos). If this concerns Koreatown, isn't it much likely for his apartments to have more Koreans compared to other ethnic groups?

Donald Sterling is not a racist. Racism is a crime and crime is for black people.

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