Sterling's Charitable Foundation May Not Be As Charitable As It Claims To Be
The LA Times released a report that scrutinizes donations made by Sterling's own Donald T. Sterling Charitable Foundation, showing it never donated anywhere near the figures they touted. This report comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling and former Los Angeles NAACP leader Leon Jenkins, who stepped down from his position after questions about the NAACP accepting donations from Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Jenkins' own past.
Advertisements promoting the good deeds by the foundation show figures ranging from $10 million all the way up to $20 million, though the record seems to show far more modest figures. Most donations were small grants of a few thousand dollars to charities that served underprivileged communities and minorities. Founded in 2009, the same year that Donald Sterling settled a federal housing discrimination lawsuit that alleged he discriminated against blacks and Latinos, the foundation's tax returns revealed that from 2009 to 2012 it donated only $1.2 million—a mere 6% of the up to $20 million figure cited by themselves.
Donald Sterling is estimated to be worth $1.9 billion.
The LA Times story also found that the foundation made a habit of empty promises. The Sterling Foundation promoted a free summer camp at Point Dume to serve underprivileged children, originally set to open this year. More recent advertisements pushed the goal to 2016, but Malibu city officials said that Sterling had yet to file the requisite paperwork for the project. Six years ago, Sterling had plans for a $50 million homeless center in skid row, purchasing a property in downtown LA for $8.5 million that today still stands undeveloped and as mainly small or abandoned storefronts. An NBC 4 report found that "no plans or permits to build or renovate the building have ever been submitted" to the city.
In the aftermath of the leaked tape where Sterling made racist comments to his friend V. Stiviano that made headlines all of last week, UCLA returned a $3 million pledge towards kidney research from Sterling, finding offense in his statements. The LA Times also found that Sterling's foundation had a previous benefactor return donations when they found that they were mostly in the service of self-promotion. 100 Black Men of Los Angeles returned a $5,000 donation when Sterling ignored a cease-and-desist letter asking them to stop using their name in his ads. Sterling's penchant for self-promotion did not go unnoticed by other charities, but many found it a small price to pay in return for much welcomed donations.
As far as image renovation goes, it seems like this whole new mess that Donald Sterling is in will cost him more than $1.2 million. Although the forced selling of the Clippers by the NBA will give him a little spending money: Forbes values the team he purchased for $12 million in 1981 at $575 million today.