Couple sues over discrimination, 2 arrested in DTW brawl, Eastpointe restaurant owner investigated for murder

Verdell and Julie Franklin had found the perfect house. The residence, located on Zukey Lake in Pinckney, was the one their hearts were set on. 

Anticipation over getting to live there meant the couple had been waiting for it to become available. "We were going to be very aggressive with this," Verdell described the hunt for the perfect house.

But the Franklins didn't get the house. They don't believe the agent selling it even presented their initial offer to the owners. And now that the house sold for the same price they first suggested, the Franklins have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the agents, believing their status as an interracial couple kept them from buying the house. 

The house checked all the boxes for what the couple wanted, and was listed at $350,000. They were willing to go higher but wanted to start off at $300,000. But they claim a real estate agent never even took their written offer. 

Verdell says he was told: "Unless you are going to put in an all-cash offer with the asking price or higher with no inspection, that is all we are going to take right now.'"

A couple of weeks later, the house did sell for $300,000.

"When I saw it sold and what it sold for," said Julie. "I cried all night. It was humiliating. it devastated our whole family." 

According to Franklin's attorney, this is the hallmark of discrimination - and one they feel has to do with race.

"They acted against their own financial interests in order to avoid making a transaction that involved an African-American man, an interracial couple," said Robin Wagner, attorney.

FOX 2 reached out to one agent for comment but did not hear back. But the agent's co-defendant, Rick Beaudin of KW Realty Living, did release a statement.

"I've never met, spoke to, or had any communication with them ever. I have never received an offer from the Franklins via their agent. I represented the sellers - they were presented any offers received. I'm a realtor, we live by the code of ethics. Discrimination has no place in real estate, especially here in Livingston County." 

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Co-owner of longtime Eastpointe restaurant investigated in murder of wife

A co-owner of an Eastpointe restaurant and husband is being investigated for the murder of his wife, Clinton Township police say.

Joseph Palleschi, who owns Villa Restaurant and Pizzaria, has been taken into police custody and is expected to be arraigned on a murder charge after law enforcement found his wife Karen dead.

She was the victim of a single gunshot wound that happened Saturday.

Neighbors of the Palleschi's declined to offer their take on camera but expressed shock and disbelief at the events that unfolded. The couple was "friendly" and "good people."

But now, Joseph is being held in Macomb County Jail where he was brought over the weekend. He hasn't been arraigned yet due to Monday being MLK holiday.

He was denied bond and is expected to be charged with open murder Tuesday. Police said Joseph surrendered when officers arrived at his home. On-scene investigators said alcohol could have been a factor.

The restaurant Joseph co-owns has been a staple in Eastpointe for nearly 65 years and is in its third generation of family ownership.

2 travelers arrested after melee at Spirit Airlines gate in DTW

Two employees of Spirit Airlines and one was hospitalized after they were attacked by three passengers trying to board a flight out of Detroit Metro Airport on Sunday.

Two of the individuals seen in a video acquired by FOX 2 were arrested while a third was cited and released after the altercation.

"This was not a fight. Describing it as a fight is untrue to our agents. In actuality, three passengers attacked our agents without provocation," read a statement from Spirit Airlines in response to the scene.

The melee happened when passengers were trying to board a flight from DTW to Atlanta without authorization on Sunday.

"The agents attempted to calmly defuse the situation but were physically assaulted by these passengers as they closed a door to stop them from boarding the aircraft."

In the video, two groups of people can be seen in fisticuffs. As two people grapple, another individual has his hands on an agent, pushing him back before knocking him down. As they both go down, the aggressor gets back up to throw more punches before other people get involved.

"This is so ******* ghetto," says the person filming.

"This violent behavior is completely unacceptable and has absolutely no place in airports or any other place of business," read the statement from Spirit Airlines. 

One of the agents was taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries.

The people involved in the fight were banned from Spirit Airlines. 

Beaumont Chief: Michigan's vaccine shortage is not unique

Building a supply chain from scratch to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines around the state would be difficult to set up in a matter of months. But that's not the reason for Michigan's vaccine troubles.

Instead, a simpler explanation has the answer. There just isn't enough doses.

"Basically what it all comes down to we don't have enough vaccine to meet the need right now," said Dr. Matthew Sims.

Sims, Beaumont's infectious disease expert, said the hospital was handling 3,200 administrations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine a day. "We handled that, and now there are plans for two more areas, 3,200 people a day," he said. "But we don't have the vaccine supply to open them yet."

It's a problem that other states are finding they have as well.

National media reports have found the federal government's health department failed to obtain enough vaccine doses to distribute at the start of inoculation.

The delay of three to four weeks to get enough vaccines could be costly as the COVID-19's death toll continues to climb. Even more deadly is the presence of a new and much more infectious strain of the coronavirus being detected in Michigan over the weekend.

FCA-PSA merger completes as Stellantis sign unveiled

Over the weekend, the merger of Fiat-Chrysler with French automaker Peugeot was completed and on Tuesday morning, the company's brand new sign was unveiled for the world.

Stellantis, the world's newest automaker is also its fourth-largest. It represents benefits for both sides of the merger.

Fiat-Chrysler gets a bigger piece of the electric vehicle pie that it's been missing out on, even as Ford and General Motors have surged forward. PSA-Peugeot meanwhile gets its foot in the North American car market.

Man shot dead on Lauder Street

A 52-year-old man was found shot dead inside a home in the 11700 block of Lauder street, early Tuesday morning.

At approximately 2:25 a.m., Detroit police discovered the victim.

The circumstances of the incident are unknown and police are still investigating what happened.

Any information about the death should be relayed to Detroit police at (313) 596-2260.

Wayne County switches vaccines

In an abrupt switch that county officials were notified about last week, Wayne County will now be administering the Moderna vaccine, rather than its Pfizer counterpart. 

A shortage of the Pfizer variant has forced Michigan to adapt its coronavirus treatment plan. As a short term solution, Michigan has been allocated 60,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine from CVS and Walgreen pharmacies.

About 5,500 of them will be delivered to Wayne County for administering, beginning Tuesday.

The move will only impact Phase 1A and 1B recipients who have not already received their first dose.

Other Stories

1. The Detroit fire department said a woman her caretaker died Monday in a house fire that burned the bodies beyond recognition. The home that burned was in the 20400 block of Tracey Street, just southwest of 8 Mile and Schaefer.
2. All eyes will be on Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony Wednesday when he takes over as president. Law enforcement has deployed security measures all around D.C. as a protective measure. Chief Craig offers his take on the momentous day.
3. A Livonia nurse who went viral for her singing has been asked to perform at a COVID-19 memorial on Tuesday.
4. A Walled Lake dispensary is offering free weed to anyone who gets the COVID-19 vaccine. All you need is proof of your inoculation.
5. For small businesses in Michigan that can show they were hurt by state restrictions due to the pandemic, there is grant money available.

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Daily Forecast

Temperatures will fall below freezing with more snow possible later Tuesday. January's mild streak may be hitting its low if the next week continues as expected.

Nearly two-thirds of US states see rising COVID-19 death toll amid winter surge

Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of American states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.

As Americans observed a national holiday Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded with federal authorities to curtail travel from countries where new variants are spreading.

Referring to new versions detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, Cuomo said: "Stop those people from coming here.... Why are you allowing people to fly into this country and then it’s too late?"

The U.S. government has already curbed travel from some of the places where the new variants are spreading — such as Britain and Brazil — and recently it announced that it would require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for anyone flying into the country.