A former pro baseball player who built one of the largest Black-owned McDonald’s franchises claims the company forced him to sell stores to white owners in a squeeze play that violated his civil rights.
Herb Washington, a famed sprinter who helped the Oakland Athletics reach the World Series in 1974, makes the claim in a new lawsuit due to be filed Tuesday in federal court in Ohio, a spokesman for his law firm said Monday.
“As part of its effort to drive Black franchisees from its system, McDonald’s has targeted Washington and has pressured him to sell one store after another to white franchisees,” the statement issued on behalf of the law firm Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway said.
Washington, 69, owned more than two dozen McDonald’s restaurants in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio during his four decades as a franchisee, the statement said.
He was due to appear at a press conference with civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Tuesday to answer questions about his alleged mistreatment, the advisory said.
Black franchise owners have spoken out about alleged mistreatment by McDonald’s in the past, with several owners telling Business Insider in 2019 they experienced a lack of equal opportunities and a decline in Black representation during their time with the burger behemoth.
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.