If you were surprised by revelations that an audio recording just might have captured a racist rant by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, you've been in the dark for years.
Sterling has previously been sued by tenants and by the U.S. government for alleged housing discrimination. And, on top of that, he's been a master at shaping an image of good deeds despite, well, sometimes faking it, as we reported previously.
Here are 6 things about Donald Sterling that you might not have known before the weekend.
6. In 2003 Sterling's real estate company was sued by the Housing Rights Center and a group of tenants who alleged discrimination against blacks and Latinos. Witnesses claimed that the Clips owner said, “Hispanics smoke, drink, and just hang around the building.” The suit was settled, and Sterling's company paid $5 million in legal fees.
5. An elderly Santa Monica widow took the NBA owner and his real estate company to court in 2004 over their refusal to accept her government voucher as rent. She was a Section 8 tenant, meaning that the taxpayers cover some of her rent because otherwise she might be on the street. Section 8 vouchers are as good as cash. Sterling's folks weren't on board. And they won.
4. In 2011 it was reported that Sterling's Wikipedia entry, which included six pages of “controversies,” was scrubbed of all the bad stuff. Not only that, but a section of “heartwarming notes” was included instead.
3. In 2008 Sterling, known for his one-page Los Angeles Times ads about his own humanitarianism, touted the development of a $50 million Donald T. Sterling Homeless Center in Skid Row via new full-page advertisements. The problem was, the local city councilwoman hadn't even seen a proposal. Even after L.A. Weekly reported on the phantom center, however, Sterling kept taking out ads about the philanthropic project that never appeared.
2. Former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor sued Sterling in 2010 for alleged age and race discrimination. He was let go in 2008 after 22 years with the team. Sterling won, but not before Baylor could claim that Sterling had a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for his NBA organization.
And here's the top greatest hit, at least before this weekend:
1. In 2009 Sterling agreed to pay the “largest monetary payment ever obtained by the department in the settlement of a case alleging housing discrimination in the rental of apartments,” said the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. The amount was $2.725 million.
This time the feds (and not just tenants) sued, and the law won. The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that Sterling's company tried to shut out black and Latino renters through various means, including indicating ethnic preferences in the names of his buildings: Wilshire Korean Towers, Sterling Korean Plaza, Windsor Square Korean Towers, and Fremont Place Korean Plaza. Prosecutors also claimed Sterling's folks asked lease applicants for their countries of origin under the guise of post-9/11 security measures.