According to the complaint, during the negotiation process to purchase a Bridgebport home, the Willborns discovered that the sellers had researched the Willborns. The complaint noted that Internet searches of George Willborn produced numerous images of him. Consequently the deal was off.
"No one can understand what my family has gone through," George Willborn said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. "We saw what we found to be our dream house. ... As Americans we have a right to get it. "
Willborn and his wife made an offer on a $1.7 million home in Bridgeport in January. As the paperwork made its rounds the home's sellers Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia discovered that the Willborns were black and asked their agents to rescind the transaction. They preferred not to sell to African Americans.
The Willborns claim racial discrimination.
Their lawsuit seeks $100 million in punitive damages from the Sabbias, local real estate agents Jeffrey Lowe, The Lowe Group and Midwest Realty and Prudential Rubloff Properties.
"That suit is about punitive damages," said attorney Willie Gary, who is representing the Willborns. "It’s not about the money. It’s about punitive. We know in America that the only thing most corporations and people that conspire like this understand is when they get hit in the pockets."
Gary said in the age in which we live there is no room for this kind of bigotry.
"This is the year 2010, and to go through what they’ve had to go through, to suffer the mental anguish they’ve had to deal with because they were discriminated against in a way that nobody should have to deal with in this day and age. They were discriminated against in the worst way."