Couple files discrimination lawsuit against realtor in Livingston County

Interracial couple married for 30 years hoping for accountability

Couple files discrimination lawsuit against realtor in Livingston County

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Mich. – When Julie and Verdell Franklin saw their dream cottage come up for sale on Zukey Lake in Livingston County the couple knew they had to act fast.

But it quickly turned into a nightmare and the two took their claims to federal court. The two allege they were discriminated against for being an interracial couple.

“She wanted to know what time we wanted to meet and explained everything to me and then when we got up there she was like a different person when we walked in and she saw us,” said Julie Franklin.

In the lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Michigan the Franklins allege that almost nothing about how the realtor was acting felt right.

The lawsuit claims they were ignored, not asked basic questions and eventually told nothing would be accepted less than the listing price.

The Franklins made their offer at that price of $300,000 and waited. A few weeks later they saw the cottage had been sold for the same price with a mortgage to a White man.

“I got in the car. I just went home and cried the whole night. I just couldn’t believe it and then we have to tell the kids,” said Julie Franklin.

The Franklins sent discrimination complaints to both the Livingston County Realtors Association and the Fair Housing Authority who said they should look into a lawsuit.

“We’ve been married for over 30 years and we’ve been through some things as an interracial couple, but never anything that’s like this,” she said.

The Franklins say this isn’t going to deter them from trying to get another place on the lake but they are hoping for some accountability.

“We would hate for this to happen to anyone else and that’s the whole point of this,” she said.

The realtor in the suit could not be reached for comment.


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.