Donald Sterling's racism has somehow only just finally gotten too loud for everyone to keep ignoring: This morning, four days after the release of a cartoonishly bigoted audio tape, Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined a league-maximum $2.5 million; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is encouraging the other owners to force him to sell the team. The things Sterling said on that tape were gross, and Sterling's been saying shit like it (or worse) for years, but his bigotry has been more direct and far-reaching in Los Angeles, where he owns more than a hundred apartment buildings and has been accused repeatedly of discriminatory rental practices. Using PropertyShark's data, we've created a (double) map of all of Sterling's properties in Los Angeles—mostly apartment buildings, but also some land and a few single-family houses—that help illustrate just how tenacious Sterling is in his bigotry: out of 162 properties we can reasonably confirm as his, there's not a single one in the black and Latino neighborhoods south of the 10 or the Latino neighborhoods east of Downtown.
An accounting of Sterling's properties also reveals that he may be LA's foremost owner of a certain type of piece-of-shit stucco building that is unavoidable in any LA neighborhood developed post-1960: oversized; adorned with useless ornamentation; painted in sun-baked colors; and laden with moronically disingenuous names like Waldorf Towers, Santa Monica Bay Club, the Wilshire Manhattan Towers, and the Encino Regency Towers.
You wouldn't want to live in these places either way, if you had the choice, but Sterling has also been a shitty landlord. At The Nation, Dave Zirin runs down the rap sheet: 1986 rent spikes so dramatic that tenants marched on city hall, a successful 2001 lawsuit brought by the city of Santa Monica "on charges that he harassed and threatened to evict eight tenants living in three rent-controlled buildings," a 2004 crusade against Santa Monica's Tenant Harassment Ordinance, a "reportedly massive" 2005 settlement to tenants who sued him for discrimination, a record 2009 settlement to the US Department of Justice in a housing discrimination lawsuit that alleged he had set up racial quotas for his properties.
And that's all just people who were allowed the privilege of paying Sterling rent: according to various lawsuits, he "just said no to rent to non-Koreans in Koreatown and just said hell-no to African-Americans looking for property in plush Beverly Hills. Sterling ... says he did not like to rent to 'Hispanics' because 'Hispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building.' He also stated that 'black tenants smell and attract vermin.'"
For a while there, Sterling seemed to think he could pay for his vile behavior with good publicity—the NAACP is now awkwardly trying to explain why it planned to give him an award despite years of this kind of documented racism—and he bought his five Skid Row properties back in the mid-aughts in an expensive campaign to convince Los Angeles that he was going to build a "state-of-the-art $50 million" homeless center. (If you were here at the time, you might remember the full-page ads he bought in the Los Angeles Times to announce the endeavor.) No one ever seemed to believe any of it and today the parcels are still home to old warehouses or light manufacturing centers or dried-out scrub.
All of the properties on the maps below are Sterling's, as far as we've been able to document via PropertyShark's records (he usually buys under the Donald Sterling Trust or Donald Sterling Family Trust; please let us know if you see any errors). There are a few other pieces of land on these maps, a few single-family houses in Malibu and Beverly Hills (at least some of which appear to be rental properties), Sterling's own relatively modest mansion on North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, and thousands of apartment units, stretching from Santa Monica to Koreatown, whose tenants will keep writing checks to Sterling after he's paid his $2.5 million fine, even after he's been forced to sell the Clippers and retreat back into the muck of his private life.