The Associated Press would later report the Housing Rights Center’s case was concluded with the District Judge awarding our attorneys $4.9 million dollars in legal fees; including his statement that 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.”
Though Sterling and his wife would describe the agreement as “a compromise of disputed claims” without admitting any liability, court documents show that the case was resolved in a pay-out of an undisclosed amount by Sterling in two years.
In addition to the financial aspect of the settlement, there are now English language signs advertising his properties in Koreatown, rather than the ones previously written completely in Korean.
But, the best result is that along with a greater awareness of tenants’ rights, minority residents are now being treated appropriately at the Ardmore apartment complex.
This is what my mother wanted.
Oddly enough, I didn’t see Donald Sterling once during the handling of our case; however, I did see him during the case filed against him later in 2006 by the Justice Department when I was asked to discuss what had happened in my mother’s case.
On that day, I had come downtown to the courthouse in L.A., taking a seat on one of the benches in the hallway to await my turn to be called into court. Seated directly across from me was a very professionally dressed, older couple; he in a high end suit and she wearing a pantsuit. It didn’t take me long to recognize that it was Sterling and his wife, Rochelle!
I wasn’t sure exactly how to react. I was still very angry at him for what he had done to my mother; all the heartache and pain he had caused her. I remember thinking, “how could someone hate another person so badly due to the color of their skin, being poor, and disabled?” This man had billions and the only thing my mother wanted was to stay in her apartment with her cat.
Here was this man, who personally owned a national basketball team and held deeds to multiple high-revenue grossing properties, making his wealth off the very minorities he could not stand to be in the same room with.
I was the surprise witness, and I could tell he was shocked to see me, as I’m sure he wasn’t expecting me. It was an honor to be asked to testify in this case; because I had first-hand knowledge that he was an unfair person. Plus, I knew that if my mother were still alive, she would have overcome whatever obstacle she had to, and made her way down to testify in this case as well!
So, seeing him on the bench across from me just made me stronger!
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