GREENVILLE, S.C. (CN) – A gay couple who successfully ran two Cingular Wireless franchises say AT&T blocked them from buying a third store and later terminated their licenses because its representatives disapproved of the couple’s homosexual lifestyle.
Steven Carter and Edward Gawel filed a discrimination complaint against AT&T, AT&T Mobility, and representatives Lamont Grisset and Vivian Delgado-Johnson in Greenville County Court.
They claim Delgado-Johnson told them that the third store they wanted to buy was not for sale, but then sold it to one of her friends for $11,000 less than what the plaintiffs had offered.
When a competing Cingular agent threatened that he was coming to their store and “beating the shit out of the two faggots,” Cingular allegedly reneged on its promise to terminate his license.
The plaintiffs pressed the issue at a Cingular conference, where Carter allegedly overheard Delgado-Johnson say, “what do you expect from a couple of drama queens?”
Their next Cingular representative, Grisset, was not much better, the couple claim. They say Grisset also voiced his disapproval of their life-partner arrangement.
And despite their high performance as franchise owners, they say AT&T Mobility decided to shut down their stores.
The plaintiffs contend that their sexual orientation was the motivating factor behind the decision to terminate their franchising licenses.
The couple demand treble damages, plus legal costs. They are represented by BCLG LLC.