Clippers Owner Gets Dunked in Housing Discrimination Settlement

Sterling allegedly discriminated against blacks and Latinos

By Scott Weber
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:54 PM PDT
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Clippers Owner Gets Dunked in Housing Discrimination Settlement

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Los Angeles Clippers Owner & Honorary Event Chairman Donald T. Sterling attends the 2nd Annual "California Gold Star Awards" dinner gala and auction at the Disneyland Hotel on April 5, 2003 in Anaheim, California.

Here's one record an NBA team owner would rather forget. The Justice Department will obtain the largest monetary payment ever from LA Clippers Owner Donald T. Sterling. The $2.72 million resolution will settle a fair housing lawsuit brought against him by the federal government, the department announced Tuesday.

Sterling and his wife Rochelle allegedly discriminated against blacks and Latinos, preferring to rent to Koreans at buildings he controls in Los Angeles' Koreatown, according to federal officials.

In court filings, the federal government stated that the couple's employees prepared internal reports that identified the race of tenants. The also made statements to employees at Koreatown buildings, indicating that blacks and Latinos were not desirable tenants, according to the Justice Department.

Officials also presented expert analysis in court filings showing that the defendants rented to far fewer Hispanics and blacks than would be expected based on income and other demographic characteristics.

"The magnitude of this settlement should send a message to all landlords that we will vigorously pursue violations of the Fair Housing Act," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

The settlement, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer, would require the defendants to pay a $100,000 civil penalty to the federal government. They would also pay $2.625 million into a fund that would be used to pay monetary damages to persons who were harmed by the defendants' discriminatory practices.

Any money left over would go to further fair housing education or enforcement in Los Angeles.

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