The Williams' complaint alleged that they had been denied the opportunity to purchase a home in northeastern Grand Rapids because they are Black. The home that they had wanted to buy was in possession of Curt Melton, the owner of A-One Mortgage Company, at the time the Williamses tried to buy it.
Johnnie Williams, a training supervisor at a large Michigan company, and Reshall Williams, the director of Student Life at a local university, had agreed, on several occasions, to pay progressively higher prices for the house and finance it under less favorable terms. Despite their desire for the house, flexibility, good credit, and qualifications, the deal on the house still fell through.
According to Lee Nelson Weber, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Greater Grand Rapids, Melton had filed personal bankruptcy and threatened to file bankruptcy for A-One if a judgment were entered.