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across the state have elected Donald Sterling of Los Angeles and David Taran (Page
Mill Properties) of East Palo Alto as the inaugural inductees to Tenants
Together’s Landlord Hall of
Shame. Tenants Together, California’s only
statewide organization for renters’ rights, launched the Hall of shame in 2010 to
shine a public spotlight on California’s bad landlords and deter future
2010, California tenants suggested nominees for induction into the Hall of
Shame. Based on the
information submitted and in-house research, Tenants Together announced its
Official Nominees throughout the year.
The Official Nominees included David Hovannisian (Fresno), Steve Pavlina
(Sunnyvale), Frank St. Clair (Bakersfield), Donald Sterling (Los Angeles), David
Taran (East Palo Alto), and Reza Valiyee (Berkeley). Ballots were sent out to Tenants Together
members in December, 2010, polls were closed on January 7, 2010, and the
inductees were announced yesterday January 19, 2010. Mr. Sterling and Mr. Taran distinguished
themselves from within the list of candidates by the scale and egregiousness of
Donald Sterling, LA Clippers owner and LA-area mega landlord, has paid millions
to settle housing discrimination cases. In 2009, Sterling paid the Department of
Justice (DOJ) the largest settlement ever involving a housing discrimination
case. According to the DOJ, Sterling "engaged in a pattern or practice of
discriminating on the basis of race, national origin, and family status."
The DOJ stated that Sterling "refused to rent to African Americans and
that his conduct was willful." In 2006, the Housing Rights Center in Los
Angeles sued Sterling for discrimination, a case that Sterling settled for an
undisclosed amount that included over $5 million in fees. Sterling has also
been sued for harassment and employment discrimination based on race by NBA
legend and former Clippers General Manager Elgin Baylor.
David Taran, through his company Page Mill Properties, orchestrated and
executed a scheme to evict thousands of rent controlled tenants in the city of
East Palo Alto (EPA). After acquiring more than half of the rent controlled
housing in EPA, this landlord soon began imposing exorbitant rent hikes and
aggressively displacing tenants from their homes. Within a few years, the
scheme imploded with all units going into foreclosure in 2010, but not before
an estimated 1,500 tenants lost their homes, according to research by the Fair
Rent Coalition of East Palo Alto.
to Tenants Together Program Coordinator Gabe Treves, “For too long California
tenants have suffered from their landlords’ bad behavior with little recourse.
As Sterling and Taran have learned, thanks to the Landlord Hall of Shame, bad
behavior will no longer go unnoticed. California tenants have delivered a clear message to landlords: clean up
your act or be publicly shamed.”
Together manages the Landlord Hall of Shame to allow tenants throughout the
state to shine a public spotlight on the bad actors that are harming their
communities. All California tenants can suggest
a landlord for consideration to the Hall of Shame by going to http://hallofshame.tenantstogether.org.
Based on the information submitted and its own research, Tenants Together
announces Official Nominees throughout the year. Annually, members of Tenants Together vote to
determine which of the Official Nominees will be inducted into the Hall of