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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sterling's Homeless-Shelter Scam

In a previous post, we saw that disgraced LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is an example of how rich individuals and interests use charitable contributions to buy political allies and good publicity.  The Orange County Register notes that the US Justice Department sued Sterling in 2006 over bias in his apartment buildings:
An interesting sidelight of that case was Sterling’s sudden public announcement that he intended to build a $50 million, multi-story homeless shelter on Skid Row. To Alice Callaghan, who has spent more than 30 years working with the homeless in Los Angeles’ inner core, the full-page newspaper ads that Sterling began running, touting the project, were a naked attempt to make himself look concerned for the downtrodden in anticipation of being slammed by the Justice Department.
The first ad appeared only three months before the Justice Department filed its case, Callaghan said.
“He had to know (government officials) were investigating him and about to file charges on him,” said Callaghan, who runs a community center named Las Familias Del Pueblo on Skid Row. “I don’t think he ever intended to build that shelter. I couldn’t imagine it was remotely going to happen – and it didn’t.”
Eight years later, no progress has been made. Exceptionally large homeless shelters are a bad idea, anyway, because they become dangerous for the people who live in them, Callaghan said. She likened Sterling’s concept to “a big poor house.”

“People he refused to rent to in his other buildings, he was going to send them over there?” she said.