A famed leftist Ohio college that was ordered by the Ohio Court of Appeals on March 31 to pay $33 million to a local bakery — owned by a family for almost 140 years — after efforts were made to destroy it by smearing it, accusing it of racism against black students, has still not paid up. The case has dragged on so long that two members of the family who owned the business have died since the initial event occurred in November 2016.
On March 31, the Ohio Court of Appeals unanimously decided in the case of Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College that Oberlin was “liable for libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with a business relationship. It then upheld the lower court’s award to Gibson’s Bakery of $25 million in damages and $6.2 million in attorney’s fees,” The Wall Street Journal reported, adding, “The trial judge had reduced the jury’s original award of $11.1 million in compensatory damages, $33.2 million in punitive damages.”
“The unrepentant college has dragged the case out for so long that two of the plaintiffs died while waiting for the cash,” The Daily Mail noted. “David Gibson died in November 2019 at age 65. Allyn Gibson, the father of the bakery worker who was attacked, died in February this year. He was 93.”
Contacted by The Daily Mail on Monday, the college reportedly responded:
Oberlin is obviously disappointed that the appeals court affirmed the judgment in its ruling. We are reviewing the Court’s opinion carefully as we evaluate our options and determine next steps.
In the meantime, we recognize that the issues raised by this case have been challenging, not only for the parties involved in the lawsuit, but for the entire Oberlin community.
We remain committed to strengthening the partnership between the College, the City of Oberlin and its residents, and the downtown business community. We will continue in that important work while remaining focused on our core educational mission.
National Review’s Rich Lowry, writing about the case in 2019, commented, “If there is one thing you learn about at Oberlin College, the notoriously progressive liberal arts college, it is surely privilege: white privilege, hetero privilege, gender privilege, you name it.”
The Gibson family, which has owned and operated the business since its inception, had sued the college and its interim vice president and dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, asserting that they had defamed the bakery and caused emotional distress.
According to the lawsuit filed by the Gibson family, David Gibson and his son, Allyn, were working at the bakery on November 9, 2016, when Jonathan Aladin, who is black, entered the bakery with two other black students, Cecelia Whettstone and Endia Lawrence.
According to The Chronicle-Telegram:
Oberlin police reported that Aladin tried to buy a bottle of wine Nov. 9 but Allyn Gibson, whose family owns the bakery, refused to sell it to him. Gibson confronted Aladin about the two bottles of wine the student allegedly had hidden under his shirt.
The police report said Gibson told Aladin he was calling the police and not to leave. Aladin allegedly tried to leave, and Gibson told police he took out his phone to take a picture. That’s when Gibson said Aladin slapped the phone from his hand and the device hit Gibson in the face. Police have said Aladin then ran from the store, dropping the two bottles of wine to the floor.
Gibson chased after Aladin and the two men got into a physical confrontation outside. When police arrived, they reported seeing Gibson on the ground with Aladin, Lawrence and Whettstone hitting him.
The lawsuit quoted Aladin’s written statement at his sentencing hearing, which it said read like this:
On November 9, 2016, I entered Gibson’s Market in Oberlin, Ohio, and attempted to purchase alcohol with a fake ID. When the clerk recognized the fake ID, I struggled with the clerk to recover the fake ID. The clerk was within his legal rights to detain me, and I regret presenting a fake ID in an attempt to obtain alcohol. Thus unfortunate incident was triggered by my attempt to purchase alcohol. I believe the employees of Gibsons’ actions were not racially motivated. They were merely trying to prevent an underage sale.
The two other students also agreed in their written statements that there was no racial motivation for the Gibsons’ employees actions.
After Aladin was arrested and charged with robbery, a felony of the second degree, the family, trying to quiet the situation down and thinking of what was best for the community, agreed to a plea deal whereby the felony robbery charge would be dismissed and replaced by a far lesser charge, attempted theft, which is a second-degree misdemeanor. But the Oberlin Municipal Court judge stated that was unacceptable, as he was worried about the precedent that would be set. He wrote:
Gibson Bakery has been accused of racism according to the motion and an economic sanction has been leveled against Gibson Bakery for their participation in the alleged robbery. The College has decided that they are not going to do business with Gibson’s bakery because of their involvement in the alleged robbery. A conclusion may be drawn that the (alleged) victims of the robbery have little choice but to assent in this proposal under penalty of a permanent economic sanction. While it is commendable that the Gibsons profess that they believe this to be in the best interests of the community, the court is concerned about the potential precedent setting of permitting a business owner under these circumstances to assent to such an agreement where such a serious crime is alleged.
The judge added, “Something happened that caused the police and prosecutor to charge and pursue a second degree felony.”
The lawsuit noted that following the arrest of the three students, Oberlin College staff, including deans and professors, Raimondo included, joined the demonstrations in front of the bakery. They handed out a flyer that accused the bakery of racially profiling and discriminating against the three students. The flyer even stated that the bakery “is a RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION.”
The lawsuit alleged that Raimondo shouted defamatory statements on a bullhorn at the demonstration and that the college suspended classes so students could attend the demonstration. The lawsuit also alleged that the college supplied the demonstrators with free food and drink. It also stated that Oberlin police investigated and found no evidence that the bakery was racist.
The Daily Mail reported, “Shockingly, the college’s then dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, helped circle the wagons, and even distributed leaflets accusing Gibson’s of racial profiling in an attempt to destroy the 137 year-old business. The arrogant academic even texted another dean to share her desire to unleash another woke mob on an academic who blasted Oberlin’s bullying of Gibson’s. She wrote: ‘F*** him. I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.’”
In November 2016, the college announced it would no longer purchase items from the bakery. The lawsuit claimed that the college said it would resume doing business with the bakery if the Gibsons would not file criminal charges against first-time shoplifters. The lawsuit said it was also suggested that if a student was caught shoplifting, the bakery should inform Raimondo rather than police.
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Woke Ohio College Which Labeled Family-Owned Bakery Racist Still Hasn’t Paid Court-Ordered $31 Million In Damages
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