He Wanted a Home, Not a Cult

Courthouse News Service/August 8, 2011

Clayton, Missouri -- A man claims he paid $93,000 to have a house built in Ghana, but found that the seller was building a "cultish community" where his Korean wife would not be accepted.

Zakaryah Yisreal wants his money back from St. Louis-based Sabayet Inc., and its founders Arthur and Willie Mae Penny, of Florissant, Mo.

Yisreal claims the Pennys did not disclose that the land in Ghana they claimed to own had many restrictions on its sale or lease. And on top of the restrictions imposed by the government, Yisreal says, Sabayet had even more sinister plans.

The "defendants planned to restrict the use and enjoyment of the land sold by subjecting the landowners and the plaintiffs to unlawful, absurd, void, and discriminatory regulations imposed by Sabayet, Inc., a not for profit organization founded by the defendant, and to which plaintiffs do not belong, such as not allowing the plaintiff to bring his wife, a Korean woman, to the community because she was interracial or white, when everyone in the community was and is interracial," Yisreal says in his complaint in St. Louis County Court.

Yisreal claims that Arthur Penny "intended to run a personal cultish compound wherein he would impose his will threats, fear, and intimidation to control the members for his own purposes through his not for profit organization Sabayet, Inc., and in fact he has done so by blocking access to all but those people who he would allow in and allow to visit the premises and he required the owners to disclose their whereabouts at all times."

Yisreal claims the defendants concealed this from him when they took his money. He seeks rescission of the agreement, a $57,500 refund for the land and building and $35,500 for extra costs to contractors.

Yisreal is represented by John Allan with Allan & Summary of St. Louis.

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