ELYRIA — The 2016 protests by Oberlin College students at Gibson’s Bakery and the resulting fallout will cause nearly $6 million in damage, an expert witness for the bakery testified.
Frank Monaco, a CPA with 415 Group in Canton, testified that the actions of the Oberlin College and Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students at the school, will cost Gibson’s Bakery $5.8 million in lost revenue over the next 30 years.
Monaco took the stand on the eighth day of the civil trial between the bakery and the college. Gibson’s sued the college and Raimondo for libel, interference with business relationships, interference with contracts, intentional infliction of emotional distress and trespass in 2017. The bakery also is suing the college for negligent hiring, retention and supervision.
Monaco said the Gibsons’ businesses were damaged by allegations from students and a resolution by the college’s student senate that the bakery had a “long history of racial profiling” and that the owners were racist. Monaco said he believes it will take a generation for the damage caused by the allegations to be corrected, which he said will take 30 years.
The rift between the bakery and the college began in 2016 when a student tried to buy alcohol with a fake ID and shoplift from Allyn D. Gibson, who is the son of the bakery’s owner, David Gibson. Allyn D. Gibson followed the student out of the store, and the two got into a physical altercation.
Two other students got involved, and police have said when they arrived the three students were hitting Allyn D. Gibson while he was on the ground.
Allyn D. Gibson is white and the students are black, and the incident escalated. All three students pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor charges and read statements into the record acknowledging that Allyn D. Gibson was within his right to detain the shoplifter and that his actions were not racially motivated.
In the two days following the shoplifting incident, Oberlin College students protested in front of the bakery and passed out flyers urging people to boycott the bakery because of the bakery’s history of racial profiling. Oberlin College stopped ordering from the bakery for 28 days after the protests before resuming in January 2017.
The college once again ceased ordering from Gibson’s after the lawsuit was filed in November 2017.
Monaco testified that $2.8 million of the damages Gibson’s has, and will, suffered were from the loss of business at the bakery.
He outlined the losses were from the loss of revenue after students stopped using Obie Dollars at the bakery. Obie Dollars are similar to a debit card in which money is placed in an account, by the students’ parents or by the student themselves, and the card then used to make purchases on campus or in nearby businesses.
Monaco also said Gibson’s Bakery is losing a large amount of revenue after the college’s campus dining services stopped purchasing baked goods and other products for use in the college’s campus dining options.
Finally, the bakery is losing business from students, their parents and college staff not shopping at the bakery any longer, Monaco said.
Another $985,000 will be lost from rental properties owned by David Gibson, testimony said. Prior to the protests, there was a waiting list for apartments in David Gibson’s buildings, but since the protests students will no longer rent from him, Monaco said.
Monaco also estimated Gibson’s will lose another $2 million in revenue from not being able to follow through with a business plan that would have seen two more apartment buildings built in the coming years.
Attorneys for Oberlin College and Raimondo, though, strongly disagreed with Monaco’s assessment.
Matt Nakon, an attorney for the defendants, said they viewed Monaco’s analysis as “overstated, inaccurate, speculative and that you employed subjective bias in favor of the plaintiffs” in reaching his conclusions.
Nakon showed that Gibson’s Bakery had been losing money in the years from 2010 until prior to the protests. Monaco agreed that the business had lost about 16 percent in revenue from 2010 until November 2016; however, he showed that after the protests, the losses became even greater.
In December 2016, the bakery’s revenue dropped 23 percent from December 2015, Monaco said. After the first quarter of 2019, Monaco projects the bakery’s revenue will drop 48 percent from 2016.
He also said he doesn’t believe the losses have yet “bottomed out.”
Nakon also questioned Monaco on whether the bakery was really a “successful business.” Monaco said he didn’t know how a business could stay afloat since 1885 without being successful.
The attorney for the college pointed out that many small towns, like Oberlin, have a family-owned general store in them. Monaco, though, argued that those small stores haven’t been owned by the same family for five generations, like Gibson’s Bakery.
Testimony in the trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. today. The attorneys for Gibson’s hope to rest their case at some point today.
- David Gibson: College VP said college wants to put incident behind us
- Gibsons unlikely to get $44M from Oberlin College
- Oberlin alumni letter predicts 'lengthy and complex legal process'
- Gibson family says jury award of $33 million in punitive damages is 'clear vindication' (VIDEO)
- Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College: Jury awards more than $33 million punitive damages
- Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College: Plaintiffs rest in second day of punitive phase (UPDATED)
- Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College: Jury should get case today
- Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College: More than $11 million awarded (UPDATED/VIDEO)
- Closing arguments next week in Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College
- Oberlin College witness testifies that Gibson's Bakery's losses are 'grossly inflated'
- Former Oberlin College president said he tried to solve Gibson's Bakery issue
- Oberlin dean suggests other witnesses provided mistaken accounts of Gibson's protests
- Gibson's Bakery rests case v. Oberlin College
- Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College closing arguments set for Wednesday (UPDATED)
- Gibson's Bakery gains victories on evidence
- Gibsons' family friend testifies in bakery's trial against Oberlin College
- Gibson family says protest at bakery changed their lives
- Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College: Meredith Raimondo testifies she didn't have control over students
- Day 3 of Gibson's v. Oberlin College trial sees former college employee testify for bakery
- Oberlin police chief: Riot team was almost called for Gibson's Bakery protest
- Attorneys say Oberlin College students made 'declaration of war' against Gibson's
- Opening statements could come this afternoon in Gibson's lawsuit against Oberlin College
- Jury selection set to start today in Gibson's suit
- Court filings delay start of Gibson's trial
- Jury selection for Gibson's Bakery v. Oberlin College suit expected to start Friday
- Oberlin College seeks to exclude items in Gibson's lawsuit
- Gibson's v. Oberlin College to go to trial
- Documents reveal attempts to 'smear the brand' of Gibson's
- Trial date set for Gibson's v. Oberlin College
- Gibson's Bakery lawsuit stays in Lorain County
- Oberlin College to begin 'good neighbor' service plan for students
- Gibson's Bakery moves to block venue change
- Oberlin College wants lawsuit moved to Cuyahoga County
- Judge denies partial motion to dismiss Gibson's lawsuit against Oberlin College
- Gibson's Bakery responds to Oberlin College's court request
- Oberlin College files motion to dismiss Gibson's lawsuit
- Gibson's Bakery struggling after loss of Oberlin College business, owner says
- Gibson's sues Oberlin College