George Willborn denied house because he is black

Raluca Coman

Written by Raluca Coman
Posted in: Featured, U.S. News
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George and Peytyn Willborn, an African-American couple, have been looking for a house and after they found a dream home in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood that was everything they wished for (big closets, basketball court, five bedrooms and a home theater) the owner refused to sell it to them because of their skin color.
Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia refused a 1.7 million dollars deal and the Willborns filed a complaint that is now part of a federal housing discrimination action. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development accused the Sabbia couple, together with their real estate agent and a real estate broker for refusing to sell the house to a black couple.

The Willborns say that the Sabbias and their real estate agent Jeffrey Lowe agreed to sell the property and took it off the market after receiving the amount of 1.7 million dollars from them. But in March the house was again on the market, listed for the price of 1.799 million dollars. Although the Willborns offer was the highest that they have received in two years since the house was listed for sale, the Sabbias refused to sign a contract with them. The Willborns’ agent, Dylcia Cornelious, says that the couple had found another property in the mean time, but the fact that the Sabbias refused to sell them the house is unacceptable and that her clients are deeply wounded by this memory. Jeffrey Lowe told Dylcia Cornelious that the sellers changed their mind regarding the sale because they did not find a suitable house to move to although they have been trying to sell their property since two years ago and they thought about not wanting to move their children from their current schools.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development declared that the Sabbias committed an act of discrimination by refusing to sign the sales contract and refused to sell the home to the Willborns because of their African-American race. According to their complaint it seems that sometime during the negotiations Lowe told Cornelious that the sellers have researched the buyers and saw their pictures on the internet. After receiving the complaint, the Sabbias agreed to sell the property for the amount of 1.799 million dollars, offer which was declined by the Willborns. The buyers were shocked, and they found it very difficult to explain their children why they could not move to the house they wished for because they had to explain to them the concept of racial discrimination. Jeffrey Lowe declared under oath that he preferred not to sell the house to an African-American. If they are found guilty with discrimination, the Sabbias, their agent and his firm might be forced to pay civil penalties to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and financial damages to the Willborns and Cornelious.11

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