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Willborn race-bias case heads to Justice Dept.

George Wilborn at the Dirksen court house this morning. (William DeShazer/Tribune)

The U.S. Justice Department is taking over the case of Chicago radio personality George Willborn, who allegedly was the victim of racial discrimination because of his family’s failed efforts to buy a home in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a federal housing discrimination complaint this month against Bridgeport homeowners Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia, Prudential Rubloff Properties and real estate agent Jeffrey Lowe. HUD said they violated the Fair Housing Act when the Sabbias backed out of a verbal agreement to sell the $1.799 million home to the Willborns, who are African-American.

The matter could have been handled as an administrative case by HUD or in the federal court system by the Justice Department. The Willborns elected to transfer the matter to federal court, which means the Justice Department has, by statute, 30 days to file a case. The transfer to the federal court system means the Willborns could be eligible to receive punitive damages as well as compensatory damages from a jury. Get the full story »

HUD files race-bias suit in Bridgeport home sale

Comedian George Willborn (Tribune file)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed a charge of housing discrimination against a Bridgeport family and a prominent realty firm for refusing to sell a million-dollar-plus home to local comedian and radio personality George Willborn and his family.

HUD alleges that Daniel and Adrienne Sabbia and their real estate agent, Jeffrey Lowe of Prudential Rubloff Properties, violated the Fair Housing Act when they discriminated against Willborn, his wife, Peytyn and their family for not following through with the sale of an amenity-filled 8,000-square-foot home at 3300 S. Normal Ave. in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Get the full story »