The president of the NAACP's Los Angeles chapter has been forced to resign as a result of his decision to award Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling a “lifetime achievement award."
Leon Jenkins' decision to bestow the award had already drawn considerable criticism even before the billionaire's racist rants were publicized. This would have been Sterling's SECOND lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles branch. The first award was given to the real estate mogul despite a well-documented history of racist business practices and fair housing violations, reports the New York Daily News.
Sterling was sued by the feds in 2006 for refusing to rent apartments to blacks and Hispanics. Three years later, he agreed to pay a $2.73 million settlement to make the housing discrimination charges go away. Despite that, Jenkins in 2009 presented Sterling with a first civil rights award for donating money to minority charities and giving Clippers tickets to inner-city kids.
Leon Jenkins has quite the colorful background. The former NAACP official was once a Detroit judge and removed after being accused of taking bribes, reports the New York Times.
Mr. Jenkins, who became a judge in a Detroit district court in 1983, was removed from the bench in 1991 and disbarred in Michigan in 1994 for soliciting or accepting bribes that included money and firearms to dismiss traffic citations, misstating his address to lower his insurance premiums, encouraging a person to commit perjury and other ethical violations, according to Michigan court records.
After a federal investigation led to an indictment, Mr. Jenkins was acquitted. But the Michigan Supreme Court, which oversaw Mr. Jenkins’s work, conducted its own investigation and concluded that from 1984 to 1987, he “systematically and routinely sold his office and his public trust.” The court removed him from the bench, and he was subsequently disbarred in the state.
Mr. Jenkins moved to California but was prevented from practicing law in the state in 2001 because of his problems in Michigan. The state bar has twice rejected his applications for reinstatement, most recently last year, on the grounds that he "failed to establish his rehabilitation from his past misconduct or that he presently possesses the necessary moral qualifications for reinstatement."
Sterling's foundations have donated at least $45,000 to the Los Angeles NAACP branch since 2007. Next question: How much of that personally went into Jenkins' pockets?