The president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP has resigned after outrage over a decision to give Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling an award for promoting civil rights.
Leon Jenkins was to present Sterling with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award later this month, but later rescinded the offer after a recording of racist statements by Sterling were made public last Saturday.
In a letter to the national leader of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, Jenkins wrote that he resigned Thursday “to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused.”
Jenkins also has had legal problems that came into focus this week. He has been banned for years from practicing law in California because of allegations that include corruption.
A telephone message and email seeking comment after business hours from the NAACP Los Angeles chapter were not immediately returned.
Even before the recording surfaced, civil rights activists questioned presenting Sterling with the award at the chapter’s 100th anniversary celebration. They cited past allegations of discrimination made by Sterling.
In 2006, Sterling was sued by the U.S. Justice Department, alleging housing discrimination in the Koreantown area of Los Angeles. In November 2009, Sterling paid $2.7 million to settle allegations that he refused to rent apartments to blacks and Latinos.
In that same year, Jenkins and the chapter honored Sterling with a similar achievement award.
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