Challenging discrimination when purchasing a home

A decade ago, George Willborn, a Black radio personality and comedian, reached a tentative deal to buy a $1.7 million, 8,000-square-foot house in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

But the White sellers refused to sign the contract, he said, even though Willborn had made the highest offer.

Willborn and his wife filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The sellers’ agent told investigators that the sellers preferred not to sell to a Black family, according to court records.

HUD charged the sellers, their agent and brokerage with racial discrimination, finding reasonable cause in accordance with the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The sellers settled with Willborn by paying an undisclosed sum while denying wrongdoing.

“It was just a shock that in this day and age, racism [could] be so blatant,” Willborn said in an interview with The Washington Post. “This happens to Black people all the time, but there are a lot of times when they don’t have the means to fight it.”

Challenging discrimination when purchasing a home, Dima Williams, Washington Post, Mar. 18, 2021, available here

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