Good Samaritan sets up GoFundMe for victim of attempted lynching to pay off $20K home loan

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Triangle community rallied behind a Wake County man whose home is in the path the Triangle Expressway/540 road project.

Lynn Council, 87, forged a deal with the state Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Authority to buy his home on Holly Springs Road.

But 20 years ago, long before he knew his home was in the path of the final section of the toll road, he got a $20,000 federal home improvement loan for elderly homeowners through a Wake County program.

The loan would only have to be paid back after his death or if he sold the home.

Since Council was forced out of his home, his attorney tried to get the loan forgiven.

When that didn't happen, Garrett Raczek, a Holly Springs resident, decided to set up a GoFundMe page to ask the community to help.

Raczek said he learned about Council from news stories last year when he received apologies from both the Apex Police Department and the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

In 1952, Apex Police Department Chief Sam Bagwell arrested Council on robbery charges and beat him, hoping to get a confession.

But Council refused to confess because he didn't commit the crime.

Later, Wake County Sheriff's Office deputies also tried to get a confession.

They took him from jail to an oak tree out in the woods and strung him up by his neck.

He didn't confess and didn't die.

RELATED: Wake County Sheriff apologizes to innocent man who deputies tried to lynch in 1952

A few years later, he bought a house on Holly Springs Road outside of Apex.

Council finalized the sale of that house to the state Monday. He also purchased a new home a few miles away.

Council, Raczek and real estate attorney Paul "Skip" Stam held a news conference afterward.

Raczek thanked the community for the $18,000 raised so far by the 'gofundme' campaign.

"My family has always taught me a simple yet profound idea that when someone needs help, you help them," Raczek said. "And it's quite clear that there are many others in this community right now who also embrace that idea."

Stam explained the problem with the home improvement loan. He said, "He should have been allowed to have it released and put on other property, but the rules didn't allow that."

Stam also expressed his thanks to donors who have so far contributed more than $18,000 of the $20,000 needed to pay off the loan.

Council echoed those sentiments.

"I totally thank you from my heart for what y'all did," Council said.

He believes between the apologies last year and the fundraising effort this year, he has been truly blessed.

"I sure thank the Lord for the gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Lord."
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.