Oberlin College in Ohio has refused to pay its owed $33 million in court-ordered damage to a family-owned bakery slandered as racist.
An Ohio court ordered Oberlin College to pay Gibson’s Bakery up to $33 million for defamation damages in 2019 after the college’s dean of students orchestrated a woke mob into slandering the family as racists for calling the police on three black students for shoplifting a bottle of wine. The money was to be paid to the bakery by April 1, but the college has refused to pay it despite the fact that two of the plaintiffs are now deceased.
On November 9, 2016, just one day after the election of President Donald Trump, Jonathan Aladin, a black Oberlin student, was caught stealing a bottle of wine by Allyn Gibson, a white employee of Gibson’s Bakery.
“Gibson chased Aladin down the street and, according to witness accounts reported by The New York Times, put the man in a choke-hold before two of the student’s friends – Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone – intervened and a brawl ensued,” according to the Daily Mail.
In the days that followed, Oberlin students proceeded to accuse the 137-year-old business that had long ties to the college of racially profiling Aladin. Fueling the flames was none other than the college’s dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, who distributed leaflets accusing the bakery of racist practices. At one point, Raimondo texted another dean at the college to say: “F**k him. I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.”
Beyond Raimondo, a Student Senate resolution condemned the bakery in a campus-wide email and posted the slander in a display case at the student center for over a year. Campus officials had also ordered food providers to halt all food purchases from the bakery.
Even after Aladin, Lawrence, and Whettstone pled guilty to “charges of attempted theft and aggravated trespass” while admitting that Gibson’s Bakery had no racial motives, Raimondo remained employed by Oberlin College through 2021 when she transferred to Oglethorpe College in Georgia.
Though Gibson’s Bakery had its name cleared, the damage had already been done as the bakery suffered massive financial losses in business. Out of options, the family filed a lawsuit for defamation and won. Per the Mail:
In 2019, Oberlin College was found guilty, due largely to evidence against Raimondo who had distributed fliers during the protests accusing the bakery of a longtime history of racial profiling and offered students up to $100 in compensation for protest supplies.
In 2019 Oberlin College was found guilty and ordered to pay Gibson’s Bakery $40 million in damages, which was reduced to $25 million and $6 million in legal fees.
Three years later, Oberlin has yet to pay the bakery even though two of the plaintiffs have now died: David Gibson at age 65 and Allyn Gibson at age 93.
Both Oberlin College and Raimondo had their appeals denied this month.
“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,” the college told the Mail.
“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,” it continued. “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.”