Capitol Report – Repeatedly looking the other way
By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Why did it take a tape recording aired on a gossip website to unmask the truth finally about Donald Sterling?
After all, Sterling’s racist statements and antics are well documented, and should have come as a surprise to anyone vaguely familiar with the situation.
Case in point, former NBA legend and Clippers general manager, Elgin Baylor, brought a legal suit against Sterling alleging wrongful termination and discrimination on the basis of age and race.
In his case, Mr. Baylor asserted that the owner (Sterling) ran his team like “a Southern plantation- type structure.”
However, a jury eventually ruled in favor of Sterling in March 2011.
To add fuel to the fire, Sterling has had to defend himself in numerous discrimination suits over the years.
A Justice Department lawsuit filed in 2006 accused Sterling’s rental company of refusing to lease Beverly Hills apartments to African Americans, refusing to rent to non-Koreans in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles County and turning away families with children from its properties.
That case was settled in 2009, with Sterling agreeing to pay nearly $3 million but continuing to deny the accusations.
In yet another lawsuit, the nonprofit Housing Rights Center and a group of tenants who lived in Sterling’s properties filed a federal lawsuit in 2003 against Sterling, accusing him of “numerous discriminatory statements and housing practices,” according to court documents.
Court documents allege that Sterling told building staff 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.
They also allege 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.”
And they claim that African- American and Latino tenants were asked to sign in as visitors at apartment buildings where they had long lived.
For 33 years, the NBA has willing to let Sterling run his team practically anyway he wanted and permitted to make disparaging remarks to his employees.
Sterling is reported as having said that he wanted the Clippers to be “composed of ‘poor black boys from the South’ and a white head coach.”
In truth, Donald Sterling has been a pariah in terms of race relations for many years, and has gotten a free pass.
The cat is now out of the bag, in the proverbial sense, and the nation awaits the verdict.