He’s back in the news, saying he is giving up his control of his NBA team.
But if you think what L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling said about black people was bad (transcript available here), you should see what he’s said and he’s done that’s far more outrageous.
Before the 80-year-old cad was known for cheating on his wife with a 20-something, gold-digging, NSA-wannabe succubus and telling her that it’s not OK for her to bring black people to games, Sterling was showing remarkably worse – and quite illegal – judgment in how he treated minorities as a landlord.
The Sterlings owned Beverly Hills Properties, which had more than 5,000 apartment units in Los Angeles County.
In 2009, Sterling agreed to pay a record $2.725 million to settle allegations that he discriminated against African Americans, Hispanics and families with children at the dozens of apartment buildings he owns in Southern California.
The agreement was the largest ever by the Justice Department in a case of housing discrimination in apartments.
Sterling and his wife, Rochelle, denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay the $2.725 million.
(Which happens to me all the time, so I feel for them.)
The longtime Democrat and NAACP donor agreed to pay $2.625 million to a fund for tenants and prospective tenants injured by his discriminatory practices, plus $100,000 in fines.
The Justice Department brought suit against Sterling in 2006, saying that they favored Korean tenants while turning away blacks and families with children.
"The magnitude of this settlement should send a message to all landlords that we will vigorously pursue violations of the Fair Housing Act," Thomas E. Perez, then head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said at the time.
But this was not at all the first time Sterling was accused of being a racist landlord.
Nor are Rochelle Sterling’s hands clean. She’s accused of posing as a health inspector and surveying tenants to check on their living conditions and lease violations.
And going back, the Housing Rights Center, a nonprofit, and a group of Sterling tenants filed a federal lawsuit in 2003 against him, accusing him of "numerous discriminatory statements and housing practices.”
They said that Sterling told his property company’s employees that he did not like Hispanic or African-American tenants and that he preferred Korean-American tenants and made "disparaging comments" about African-American and Hispanic tenants.
The plaintiffs also said that Sterling's company refused to accept rent from African-American and Latino tenants -- then later attempted "to use the tenants' supposed failure to pay rent as a basis for eviction."
Most damaging, the plaintiffs said that African-American and Hispanic tenants were asked to sign in as visitors at apartment buildings where they had long lived.
The case was dismissed in 2005 after a settlement was reached, wherein a judge ordered Sterling to pay nearly $5 million in attorney's fees to the plaintiffs.
So let's put that up against the thick-headed stuff he was recorded saying by his low-rent, high-priced girlfriend.
Action vs. private conversation. See the difference?
Which brings me to this: You know who doesn’t sleep with an 80-year-old billionaire and secretly record intimate conversations to get their fingers deeper in the old man’s wallet?
A good human being, that’s who.
This rush to blacklist (sorry) and purge and burn the witches every time someone deviates from mandatory and approved opinions and speech is uglier than anything it’s intended to curb. That goes for Sterling just like it goes for Mozilla’s ousted CEO. It doesn’t matter if it’s purging the politically incorrect today, or blacklisting leftists in Hollywood in the 1950s.
It’s ugly and it’s getting worse on all sides.
Western Civilization’s guiding and best standard was summed up by the expression (incorrectly attributed to Voltaire, but close enough) “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.”
Now it’s just “Shut up, he explained.”
Sterling said stupid stuff in his own house. Whatever.
What he did as a landlord? That was what he should be in the spotlight for.
I suppose all those payouts to the LA chapter of the NAACP bought him a lot of cover for that.
Really, though, the best thing said on this whole mess came from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
He’s a co-pilot, although my dad says he doesn't work hard enough on defense.
“All this other stuff I listed above has been going on for years and this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend is what puts you over the edge? That’s the smoking gun?” Jabbar wrote.