A stand-up comic and his wife have filed a $100 million lawsuit in a case of alleged racial discrimination, NBC Chicago reports.
George Willborn and his wife Peytyn are suing the Sabbia family, real estate agent Jeffrey Lowe and the Prudential Rubloff group for allegedly refusing to sell them a home because they are black.
(Scroll down to see video of George and Peytyn speaking to reporters.)
Three weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced charges against Lowe and the Sabbias in the matter. According to those charges, the Willborns made the highest offer on the Sabbias' home in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, offering $1.7 million for the home.
But apparently, Daniel Sabbia told Lowe, his agent, that "we would rather not sell to an African-American."
The house on South Normal Street was then taken off the market. Only after Willborn filed a complaint with HUD was the home re-listed.
On Thursday, the Willborns filed their discrimination suit in federal court, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. They also spoke to reporters about the case.
When asked why they had wanted to move to Bridgeport, a historically Irish neighborhood known for hostility to African-Americans, Willborn said, "I didn't care where the home was. It was a specific type of house that my wife and I felt that we had earned the right to live in. ... It just happened to be in Bridgeport."
Willborn's attorney, Willie Gary, described the case to NBC Chicago:
"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."
Peytyn Willborn, George's wife, also describes the pain she felt having to explain to her children why they couldn't buy the house of their dreams.
Watch video of the news conference:
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