Lizzie Pugh, a Black Detroit public schools retiree, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that white employees at Fifth Third Bank in Livonia refused to cash and deposit her slot machine jackpot check. She won it during a church outing to the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant.
The 71-year-old alleges that three white bank employees told her the five-figure check was fraudulent and and refused to give it back, reports Tresa Baldas of the Detroit Free Press. Pugh, who is a deacon at her church, says it's blatant racism.
"I couldn’t really believe they did that to me," Pugh tells the Freep. "I was devastated. I kept asking, 'How do you know the check is not real?' ... And they just insisted that it was fraudulent. ... I was just terrified."
The Aug. 29 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit says after much persistence that day she got the bank to return her check, which she then deposited at a nearby Chase bank. It cleared the following day without issue, the lawsuit says.
Fifth Third Bank didn't respond to several requests from the Free Press for a comment.