Donald Sterling Wiki
Donald T. Sterling (born Donald Tokowitz, April 26, 1934) is an American businessman. He was the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball franchise of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1981 to 2014.
In April 2014, Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million by the league after private recordings of him making racist comments were made public. In May, Sterling’s wife Shelly reached an agreement for the Sterling Family Trust to sell the Clippers for $2 billion to Steve Ballmer, which Sterling contested in court. The NBA Board of Governors approved the sale of the Clippers to Ballmer on August 12, 2014. Sterling settled his lawsuit against the NBA in November 2016 and remains active in Los Angeles real estate.
Donald Sterling Quick Bio
April 26, 1934
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Donald T. Sterling|
|Alma mater||California State University, Los Angeles (B.A.)
Southwestern Law School (J.D.)
|Known for||Former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers|
|Net worth||US$3.8 billion (April 2019)|
Shelly Sterling (m. 1955)
Donald Sterling was born Donald Tokowitz on April 26, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois. His family moved to the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles when he was two years old. His parents, Susan and Mickey, were Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles, where he was on the school’s gymnastics team and served as class president; he graduated in 1952. He next attended California State University, Los Angeles (Class of 1956) and Southwestern University School of Law (Class of 1960) in Los Angeles.
When he was 25 (after he was married), he and his wife Shelly changed their surname to “Sterling”, filing a formal petition to do so on December 9, 1959. They cited the difficulty among his peers to pronounce “Tokowitz” and the belief that there would be financial benefits for the change.
Legal and real estate career
In 1961, Sterling started his career as a divorce and personal injury attorney, building an independent practice when Jews had fewer opportunities at prestigious law firms. His biggest ventures were in real estate, which he began when he purchased a 26-unit apartment building in Beverly Hills.
In the 1960s, Sterling also purchased Lesser Towers, a pair of large apartment buildings in the Westwood area of Los Angeles and renamed them the Sterling Towers (now the Sterling International Towers). In 1976, he leased the California Bank Building on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills and renamed it Sterling Plaza. The Art Deco landmark was built in 1930 by MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer. In 2000, Sports Illustrated senior writer Franz Lidz revealed that Sterling had a 99-year lease with the Mayer estate that required him to pay a relatively small annual fee and 15% of any rental income, which was why Sterling had remained the sole tenant. “With no other tenant,” Lidz reported, “the Mayer estate faces another 75 years with virtually no income from its Sterling Plaza property. By sitting and waiting, Sterling may force a fire sale.” As of April 2014, he owned 162 properties in Los Angeles.
Sterling and Los Angeles Lakers majority owner Jerry Buss were each indirectly responsible for the other owning his respective NBA franchise The first instance came in 1979, when Buss used the money he made from selling a portion of his apartment buildings to Sterling (worth $2.7 million), which covered the remaining balance in purchasing the Lakers, the Kings hockey team, and The Los Angeles Forum from Jack Kent Cooke for $67 million. Two years later, Buss suggested to Sterling that he could purchase his own NBA franchise, and Sterling bought the struggling San Diego Clippers for $12.5 million.
Racist remarks and a lifetime ban
On April 25, 2014, TMZ Sports released a recording of a conversation between Sterling and his mistress, V. Stiviano (born María Vanessa Perez, also known as Monica Gallegos, Vanessa Perez, and Maria Valdez). In the recording from September 2013, a man confirmed to be Sterling was irritated over a photo Stiviano had posted on Instagram, in which she posed with Basketball Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson. Sterling told Stiviano: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people”, and, “You can sleep with . You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want”, but “the little I ask you is … not to bring them to my games”.
In February 2003, the Housing Rights Center of Los Angeles (HRC) filed a housing discrimination case against Sterling on behalf of 18 tenants. The lawsuit featured several racist statements allegedly made by Sterling to employees, such as that “black people smell and attract vermin” and “Hispanics just smoke and hang around the building” as well as Sterling’s alleged intent to rent only to Korean tenants because “they will pay the rent and live in whatever conditions I give them”. Part of the HRC case’s resolution included U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer awarding the plaintiffs’ attorney $4.9 million in attorneys fees. While the final terms for the plaintiffs were confidential, the judge said the fees were justified as the settlement obtained by the plaintiffs against Sterling was one of the largest of its kind and the public benefit terms were significant and wide-ranging.
Sexual harassment lawsuit
In 1996, Christine Jasky, a property management consultant for Sterling who also did work for the Clippers, sued Sterling for sexual harassment, claiming she quit her job after he repeatedly offered her money for sex, and asked her to recruit sexual partners for him. Sterling countersued, and the two eventually reached a confidential settlement in 1998.
Sumner Davenport, a property supervisor for Sterling who was fired in 2002, sued him in 2003 for sexual harassment for “unwanted and offensive physical conduct”. She lost the case at a jury trial two years later. Court documents indicate that Davenport was a property supervisor based in Sterling’s Beverly Hills office, with the responsibilities of overseeing several of his apartment buildings. In her case, she asserted she was fired for her complaints against and refusing to comply with his racially discriminating and abusive behavior against tenants, his illegal eviction process, as well as his offensive physical conduct against her. Court records indicate Sterling’s organization denies firing her.
In 1955, Sterling married Rochelle (“Shelly”) Stein, with whom he had three children: Scott, Chris, and Joanna. Joanna’s husband, Eric Miller, served as the Clippers’ director of basketball administration, voluntarily leaving after Sterling sold the team.
Sterling had a relationship with a woman named Alexandra Castro. Seeking the return of a house she was living in, Sterling sued her in 2003 after their relationship ended. Castro, in 1999, had signed a contract that gave Sterling protection from her seeking palimony, which divides assets between unmarried couples. Their agreement read that Sterling “is happily married, has a family and has no intention of engaging in any activity inconsistent with his domestic relationship”. In the proceedings, Castro stated that Sterling consulted her on Clipper’s personnel decisions. Sterling and Castro reached a confidential settlement out of court in 2004.
Sterling and Shelly became estranged at the end of 2012, when he moved to a mansion in Beverly Hills, California, after she kicked him out of their beach house in Malibu, California, following a family dispute during which he was arguing with a mistress on the phone. A week later, Sterling’s son Scott was found dead on New Year’s Eve, having died of an accidental narcotic drug overdose at the age of 32.
On August 5, 2015, Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini confirmed to KABC-TV that Sterling filed for divorce from his wife Shelly. In March 2016, Samini informed the Los Angeles Times that “notwithstanding all the difficult events of the last two years, the Sterlings have resolved their differences” and decided not to proceed with their divorce.
In 2012, Sterling began treatment for prostate cancer. By May 2014, according to multiple doctors Sterling was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He was deemed mentally unfit to continue to lead the financial affairs of the Sterling Family Trust, clearing the way for his wife Shelly to sell the Los Angeles Clippers on his behalf despite his protests.
Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About Donald Sterling
- TMZ caught up with Sterling in Beverly Hills and asked him a battery of questions.
- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling “for life” after an audio clip surfaced on TMZ featuring the Los Angeles Clippers owner
- The announcement of Sterling’s punishment was made five years ago
- We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” said Adam Silver. “They simply have no place in the NBA.”
- Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million
- In May, Sterling’s wife Shelly reached an agreement for the Sterling Family Trust to sell the Clippers for $2 billion to Steve Ballmer
- Sterling married Rochelle (“Shelly”) Stein in 1955.
- In 2012, Sterling began treatment for prostate cancer.
- Sterling Networth is as US$3.8 billion in April 2019.
- In 1996, Christine Jasky, a property management consultant for Sterling who also did work for the Clippers, sued Sterling for sexual harassment