Oberlin College has owed a local bakery the $36 million after the progressive Ohio school falsely accused the family business of being racist.
The sizeable payout was granted earlier this year after Gibson’s Bakery won a defamation lawsuit against the school, which sided with three black students who claimed the store racially profiled them when they were caught stealing in November 2016 got caught in the store.
“We can confirm that all funds have been disbursed and that the family is continuing the process of rebuilding Gibson’s Bakery for generations to come,” Brandon McHugh, the Gibson family attorney, told 3News on Thursday.
“It’s definitely a matter of right and wrong. And to be honest, the three students who stole the store admitted their crimes,” adds McHugh. “It was Oberlin College that could never admit that what they did was wrong.”
The 137-year-old bakery plans to use the money to rebuild the store, which has suffered a significant loss of sales following allegations of racism and the simultaneous Covid-19 pandemic.
“I would replace the compressors for the refrigerators and the fryers and proofers that we use for our dough. I would pay off the mortgages on my properties that I have taken out over the last few years. I would hire staff again and ramp up production,” Lorna Gibson wrote in a September feature for The Post.
Gibson’s Bakery filed the defamation lawsuit against Oberlin College in 2017, a year after the shoplifting in which one of the students used a fake ID to try to buy a bottle of wine while stealing two more bottles, sources in court records.
Gibson’s son Allyn chased the trio – Jonathan Aladin, Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone – out of the store, where a scuffle ensued. When police arrived, the students claimed that Allyn racially profiled and assaulted them.
An Oberlin College employee created and distributed flyers alleging the family had a “LONG LONG LAWN PROFILING AND DISCRIMINATION” and urged shoppers to boycott the store. School protesters, both students and teachers, demonstrated outside the Ohio Bakery.
The family lost a significant amount of business over the allegations, Gibson said, even after the students admitted in 2017 that they had not been racially profiled. They pleaded guilty to attempted theft.
The Gibsons decided to sue the college because the family patriarch, 89-year-old Allyn Sr., “who dedicated his life to the business did not want to die because he was wrongly branded a racist,” Gibson said. Allyn died earlier this year.
Oberlin College was fined $11 million for defamation in 2019 after finding the college defamed the bakery when the employee made the flyers, but the school tried to appeal the ruling. In September, the Ohio Supreme Court denied Oberlin’s appeal and ordered him to pay the Gibsons over $36 million.
“It’s definitely a matter of right and wrong. And to be blunt, the three students who stole the store admitted their crimes,” McHugh said Thursday. “It was Oberlin College that could never admit that what they did was wrong.”
https://nypost.com/2022/12/16/oberlin-college-makes-36m-payment-to-bakery-it-labeled-racist/ Oberlin College pays $36 million to a bakery it says is racist