(Clippers owner Sterling, left, assures Elton, right, the photographs are only for his own personal use)

I suspect that it will take more than calling Sam Cassell as a character witness to make this suit go away. From the LA Times’ Myron Levin.

The Justice Department on Monday filed a discrimination suit against Los Angeles Clippers owner and real estate mogul Donald Sterling, accusing him of favoring Korean tenants while seeking to exclude African Americans and families with children from his apartment buildings in Los Angeles County.

The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, charged Sterling with violating the Fair Housing Act, a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, by engaging in “discrimination on the basis of race, national origin and familial status.” It also named Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, and three Sterling companies and trusts.

Sterling owns about 100 apartment buildings with thousands of rental units in the county. In a prepared statement, Sterling’s lawyer, Greg Garbacz, called the charges baseless.

In the seven-page complaint, Justice Department lawyers said Sterling’s agents at various times have refused to rent to non-Koreans at their buildings in Koreatown, and have been guilty of “creating, maintaining, and perpetuating an environment that is hostile” to existing non-Korean tenants.

According to the lawsuit, the Sterling companies also have refused to rent to African Americans at properties in Beverly Hills, and have misrepresented the availability of units to blacks and families with children.