A federal magistrate yesterday gave a Virginia couple a week to come up with a timetable for paying $11,000 they owe as a result of a civil rights verdict over their refusal to serve three black women at their small restaurant in Fauquier County.
U.S. Magistrate W. Curtis Sewell told Roy E. McKoy and his wife Patricia that if they did not comply he would order their bank account, which has a balance of $716, garnished in partial payment.
Roy McKoy, who has been jailed three times for refusing to serve blacks at his Belvoir Restaurant near Marshall, Va., and his wife owe a $1,500 judgment and a $9,500 legal bill as a result of the verdict of a federal District Court jury. The jury, sitting in Alexandria federal court, held in July that the McKoys had violated the women's civil rights and should pay damages of $1,503 and the women's legal fees.
McKoy appeared before Sewell yesterday without a lawyer and said he did not understand why he was back in court. His wife told Sewell they had not paid the $1,503 because they had not received a notice on where to send the money.
The McKoys are under a separate federal court to comply with federal law prohibiting racial discrimination in public places. Roy McKoy, 61, was sentenced to serve a 30-day sentence in a work-release program after he pleaded guilty in March to refusing to serve the three women in his restaurant, about 50 miles west of Washington.
The women, Lori Jackson of Dale City and her daughters, Denise Johnson and Debrah Williams, won $3 in nominal damages and $1,500 in punitive damages in the subsequent trial of their lawsuit.
"I bent over backwards to let this guy walk out of the [Jackson] suit," said Victor M. Glasberg of the American Civil Liberties Union after yesterday's hearing. He said McKoy had declined an offer to end the lawsuit if McKoy would pay his clients $2,000 and offer a free meal to representatives of the NAACP and the ACLU.
Glasberg requested $19,000 for legal fees for handling the suit, but U.S. District Judge Robert R. Merhige cut the bill in half, saying Glasberg's clients had been "testers," Glasberg said.
Glasberg has appealed Merhige's decision to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that many important civil rights cases have involved "testers," particularly in the area of housing discrimination. He said his clients were "testers" because they had gone to the Belvoir Restaurant to test reports that the McKoys were refusing to serve blacks in their restaurant.
The McKoys could not be reached for comment.