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SANTA MONICA, CA-Donald Sterling, the multimillionaire apartment developer often feted for his community and humanitarian work, has agreed to pay $25,000 to settle charges that he harassed tenants in three of his rent-controlled apartments, city officials say.

All three buildings are here in Santa Monica, which has some of the toughest rent-control regulations in the nation. Sterling allegedly had employees threaten some of the tenants in the buildings with eviction, claiming that some potted plants they kept on their balconies had caused $100,000 in damage, according the City Attorney’s office.

Part of the $25,000 will go to eight tenants, with the rest used to fund the city’s future consumer-protection efforts. As part of the settlement, Sterling also agreed to notify tenants that state law generally prohibits landlords from entering a unit without 24 hours’ advance notice unless there is an emergency.

Sterling is one of LA County’s largest and richest apartment owners. While some of his Santa Monica properties are relatively modest, rents at some of his other ritzy Westside buildings top $10,000 a month.

Sterling, who also owns basketball’s Los Angeles Clippers, has been cited by a number of religious, humanitarian and community groups for his fund-raising efforts and other work.

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