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Why is the Gibson Family Still Waiting to be Paid by Oberlin?

Why is the Gibson Family Still Waiting to be Paid by Oberlin?

“I still haven’t seen a penny from the school.”

What was done to this family is truly sickening.

Lorna Gibson writes at Common Sense:

Will I Ever See the $36 Million Oberlin College Owes Me?

When the jury found in our favor—they ruled that we were owed $44 million in damages (which was later reduced to $31 million)—relief washed over me. I thought we’d finally be able to move past this and get back to work.

But after the verdict was handed down, David and I left Oberlin to seek treatment for his cancer at bigger hospitals in the South and in New York. We found out that the cancer had spread during the trial, and that we had no recourse. Before he died in 2019, David asked me to keep the store going. “Just keep the doors open, no matter what,” he said. He gave his life for the store, and I promised him that I would do everything I could to honor his final wish.

I still haven’t seen a penny from the school. In 2019, Oberlin appealed to have the jury verdict overturned. Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals rejected Oberlin’s claims and upheld the jury’s verdict. But in May of 2022, Oberlin appealed again to the Ohio Supreme Court to try to avoid the jury’s decision. Thankfully, earlier this week, the Ohio Supreme Court denied Oberlin’s appeal and ruled that the school must pay us $36 million. But even with this most recent ruling, the college, which has about a billion dollars’ worth of assets at its disposal, still refuses to pay.

We hoped that, with time, the kids who started all this would graduate, and that new students would come in and that the whole drama would fade. But I’m told that freshmen are still told to boycott us. Parents who come in tell me that their kids have been brainwashed to hate us.


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Under Ohio law, how long will it take for the Supreme Court to issue the mandate to the district court so that the Gibsons can collect against the appeal bond? I am assuming that Oberlin will file a motion for rehearing and do everything else that they can do to continue to drag out the proceedings.

Principle or Principal? My early rearing was in Oberlin. My dad taught there, helped set up the first African-American barbershop inside Oberlin’s city limits before going to Munich to work on the Marshall Plan. I did not attend Oberlin. Yet the moral values ascribed to Oberlin College and to which it has ascribed are important to others and me. I am sorry. Oberlin College has withstood decades of challenges and earned worldwide respect for its stand on moral values not it’s checking account.
Bruce Shaw; Kent, Ohio I

    I do not understand what point you are trying to make.

      Milhouse in reply to pst314. | September 4, 2022 at 8:28 am

      The point seems pretty obvious. Oberlin is a college that has built up a long-standing reputation for being about principles rather than money, but the current administration, by refusing to pay its debts, is acting against that tradition, putting principal before principles.

      However I disagree. Oberlin is not concerned about the money. To them it’s the principle of the thing. The problem isn’t that the college has abandoned principles, it’s that its principles are wrong. It’s not enough to have values; they also have to be the right ones, or you’re better off not having them. In a tyranny, a corrupt official who will close his eyes for a small donation to his retirement fund is morally preferable to one who is honest and dedicated and thus will enforce the tyrannical laws to their fullest.

        pst314 in reply to Milhouse. | September 4, 2022 at 8:37 am

        Not that obvious: The wording is sufficiently clumsy that it is uncertain whether the commenter is lamenting Oberlin’s fall or defending Oberlin against a cruel and unfair lawsuit filed by white racists. My money is on the latter, but I cannot be sure.
        Regardless, I doubt that the commenter will return to explain himself.

    tkdkerry in reply to rbruceshaw. | September 2, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    I do not understand, either. This seems to say nothing regarding Oberlin’s obligation to the Gibsons.

    drsamherman in reply to rbruceshaw. | September 3, 2022 at 3:18 am

    It could have been apotheosized to a divinity, but unfortunately it acted like a selfish, spoiled and ill-mannered brat with the Gibsons. You’ll find little to no sympathy here for its absolutely horrific behavior, and exactly what are you trying to accomplish with this obtuse post? They’re adults and responsible for their actions—high falutin’ delusions of morality and ivory-tower arrogance notwithstanding.

I agree that Oberlin will most likely continue to drag things out. Per Mrs. Gibson’s letter, they only have a couple of months left with no money, IMO Oberlin wants to be able to claim a victory to its “base” – that they drove this “racist” company out of business and that is worth any cost – and please donate here.

I’d be willing to donate to a collection to keep them open long enough to wait out Oberlin’s slow play.

Has counsel filed for a court order of levy?

She needs a trust worthy financial advisor who can arrange a short-term loan against the payoff that’s coming

    An unsecured personal loan would be adequate. I wonder if any of the attorneys might accommodate a bridge loan. OTOH, she may be totally tapped out after all of the medical overhead of the past few years.

    Oberlin needs to be castigated for their greed and the indignities they have suffered upon the Gibson family. Payback is coming but it will not impact the vicious cretins of Oberlin’s staff/faculty/administration who promulgated their specious variety of hatred against a family bakery.

Suburban Farm Guy | September 3, 2022 at 9:15 am

I think it’s hilarious that the Dean of Students whose actions got Oberlin on the hook for all this moved on to another ‘college’ a long time ago. It’s a hollow, pointless amusement though as Oberlin is never going to part with a dime of it, protestations about insurers and bond companies aside. Sure they have paid out a lot in legal stuff. The deserving family will never see a dime is the bottom line.

    You are wrong. Payment will be made in full. Not today or tomorrow, but very soon. Oberlin isn’t running out of options; it has already run out, and it’s now like a cartoon character that has run off a cliff but hasn’t yet noticed.

I absolutely disagree, Suburban Farm Guy. I would expect payment to actually be made within about 60 days. 90 tops.

Here is what has to happen.

1. The mandate (the document by which the Ohio Supreme Court officially says “we are completely done with the appeal”) must issue. No collection action until then.

2. Gibsons must make a demand on the bonding company to pay up. The yshould send a copy of that letter to the insurance commissioner–or whatever the Ohio equivalent of the insurance commissioner is.

3. After a certain time (30 days in my state), if the bonding company doesn’t pay up, the insurance commissioner–or whatever the Ohio equivalent is–sends the bonding company a letter saying “If this judgment hasn’t been paid in full by [a date certain–probably another 30 days}–your license to do business in Ohio is suspended.

At that point, the judgment will get paid.

Meanwhile, once the mandate is entered, the Gibson’s attorneys can be conducting debtor’s exams of Oberlin officials, and garnishing every bank account they can find, It’s amazing how that kind of disruption and harassment can get things paid.

This may be helpful in understanding what happens next. Seems pretty clear that Zurich will have to pay the bond forthwith, though I am not an attorney and perhaps I am missing something.