Ex-NBA Star Who Pushed for Donald Sterling Ouster Has History of Sexual Misbehavior Allegations

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 15 2014 5:49 PM

Ex-NBA Star/Politician Who Pushed for Donald Sterling Ouster Has History of Sexual Misbehavior Allegations

487322663-sacramento-mayor-kevin-johnson-addresses-the-media
Kevin Johnson discussing the Donald Sterling situation at an April 29 press conference.

Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

Deadspin has a piece this afternoon reviewing the history of sexual misbehavior and financial mismanagement accusations against Kevin Johnson, the Sacramento mayor and ex-NBA star who acted as an unofficial advisor to the NBA players' union during the early days of the Donald Sterling scandal. The accusations have been public for some time, but received little attention during Johnson's involvement in the Sterling incident, during which he pushed NBA commissioner Adam Silver to issue the maximum possible punishment.

It's a complicated story, but there are three threads.

Advertisement

1) An investigation by a federal oversight agency into the administration of federal funds at Johnson's St. HOPE Academy group in Sacramento. Investigators accused Johnson's group of misusing public funds, some of which they agreed to repay in a settlement.

2) Reports of inappropriate sexual behavior on Johnson's part towards five St. HOPE students, allegations that were uncovered in the course of the financial investigation. It doesn't appear that any legal action ensued, but two former St. HOPE staff members are on the record as having left the organization in protest when Johnson went unpunished.

3) A case from the 1990s involving the alleged molestation of a girl Johnson met when she was 15, which includes taped statements by Johnson that are, at the least, concerning ("the hug was more intimate than it should have been"). Johnson settled the case for $230,000.

Again, it's a complicated story—for one, Johnson is an up-and-coming Democrat and the investigator who looked into St. HOPE was a conservative who would later squabble with with Obama appointees—and you should read the whole Deadspin piece if you can.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.