LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday sued
Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling
for housing discrimination, claiming he refused to rent apartments
to blacks and families with children.
Federal prosecutors contend that Sterling, his wife, Rochelle,
and their family trust refused to rent to many prospective tenants,
treated them poorly and misrepresented the availability of
apartments to them in the city's Koreatown section.
The defendants also are accused of refusing to rent to black
prospective tenants in Beverly Hills as well as families with
children looking to rent apartments that the defendants owned or
managed in Los Angeles County.
"Here in Los Angeles, where housing is already at a premium, it
is imperative that no one be denied housing simply because of their
skin color, ethnic background or because they have children," said
U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang.
A message left with attorney Michael Kennick, who has
represented Sterling in previous lawsuits, was not immediately
Claiming violations of the federal Fair Housing Act, the lawsuit
seeks an end to "discriminating on account of race, national
origin and familial status," plus unspecified monetary damages and
penalties. The lawsuit also names as defendants the Sterling Family
Trust and the Korean Land Company, which owns multifamily rental
properties throughout the county.
In November, a federal judge ordered Sterling to pay nearly $5
million in fees to plaintiffs' attorneys in a lawsuit accusing him
of discriminating against black and Hispanic tenants.
The case -- filed by attorneys including the nonprofit Housing
Rights Center for 19 plaintiffs -- resolved with a financial
settlement that the judge described as "one of the largest ever
obtained in this type of case," though the terms were not
The 2003 lawsuit alleged that Sterling tried to drive out
tenants, particularly blacks and Hispanics, at apartments he owned