What started as an exciting day to purchase a new home on Davis Islands ended with a family of Indian decent in shock, and terrified for their lives, according to a civil suit filed in Hillsborough County.
“Only shock, shock, and disbelief,” Ali Asgar Kaderbhai said. “It's so challenging, even for me to express it, it's very hard actually, and especially on Davis Island you would not think in a thousand years (it) might happen.”
Kaderbhai said he was going through the final walkthrough on the home and was there with his wife and her parents. His wife and mother-in-law were dressed in traditional Indian Sari Attire.
The complaint states that on Nov. 3, a neighbor that lives across the street, Debbie Olson, “burst through the front door of the property…and yelled very loudly that plaintiffs were ‘f-ing up the neighborhood.’”
The complaint then said “she stormed out and marched directly to another neighbor’s house.”
That’s when Kaderbhai said David Howard came into the front yard and started cursing at him.
“It is unimaginable that this could happen,” Kaderbhai said. “With this incident, the whole night we could not sleep. It's like you know you constantly get nightmares.”
After much thought and deliberation with his wife Kaderbhai said they decided it wasn’t safe to move into the home. He had already put down $30,000 in earnest money. But, since it was a binding legal agreement the sellers, Herbert and Janice Donica, did not refund the deposit.
Their attorney, Richard McIntyre said the Donica’s agree with everything that happened and all of the information stated in the complaint. McIntyre gave us this statement about the sale falling through and the events that unfolded after.
“The Donica’s think that what their neighbors did was reprehensible,” McIntyre told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska over the phone. “But, the Donica’s have substantial damages as a result of Ali’s failure to close.”
The three counts listed in the complaint are Fraud in the Inducement, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, and Tortious Interference with a Contract.
Ali’s attorney said the money should’ve been returned despite the sale falling through. She contends that the Donica’s should have told Ali and his family about the hostility in the neighborhood.
He knew or he should've known there was a racist environment in that immediate neighborhood, and this person would cause problems,” Raandi Morales said. “You had someone who walked up and said ‘I'm going to burn your house down’ and ‘you lied’ and that's what makes us think there may have been something else.”
According to the complaint Howard called the realtor a (expletive), and that the Donica’s “lied” and those “those people” would not be moving into Donica’s home. Morales interprets that exchange as Donica and Howard having a previous conversation about who was allowed to buy the home.
McIntyre said the Donica’s had no clue that any of this would happen and they didn’t know the neighbors would be hostile toward the potential buyers.
We spoke to a neighbor who lives across the street from Howard. She told us off camera that she has felt hostility from Howard and Olson before and was not surprised when she heard what allegedly happened.
Neither Olson nor Howard answered their doors to comment on the lawsuit.