Bridgeport Couple, Realtors Sued for Housing Discrimination

Chicago radio personality George Willborn says seller reneged on deal because of his race

Monday, Sep 20, 2010  |  Updated 9:15 PM CDT
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A Chicago couple are accused of refusing to sell a Bridgeport home to comedian George Willborn because he is black.

A Chicago couple are accused of refusing to sell a Bridgeport home to comedian George Willborn because he is black.

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Justice Dept. probes George Willborn race-bias case.

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.
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Federal prosecutors on Monday filed a lawsuit on behalf of Chicago radio personality George Willborn and his wife who claim they couldn't buy their dream home because of their race.

The case, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, names as defendants Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia, a white couple who owned the residence at 3300 South Normal Ave.; their real estate agent, Jeffrey Lowe; The Lowe Group Chicago, Inc.; and Midwest Realty Ventures, LLC, doing business as Prudential Rubloff Properties.

Willborn and his wife, Peyton, made an offer to buy the Sabbia's 8,000-square-foot Bridgeport mansion earlier this year. The Sabbias accepted the offer, but later backed out.

The suit claims Daniel Sabbia previously had advised Lowe he would prefer not to sell to an African American, though if the price was right he would sell to anybody.

After two days of negotiations, the Willborns accepted an offer of $1.7 million with an April 1 closing date, according to the suit. However, the Sabbias refused to sign the contract and took the house off the market for the third time.

The Willborns claim racial discrimination.

"The government is bringing this lawsuit to vindicate the right under federal law of all citizens to choose where to live in the Chicago area, free of illegal discrimination," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in a written statement.

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