Cora Masters Barry‘s Recreation Wish List Committee is safe for now in the familiar confines of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Macaluso this afternoon granted a temporary restraining order barring the city from evicting Barry and her group, which it had threatened to do in early August. Macaluso found that the District had no authority to simply evict the group with no basis for the action. Evictions, said Macaluso, need a proper basis in law—-they have to move through the Landlord & Tenant division of D.C. Superior Court.
The Recreation Wish List Committee has run athletic and educational programs for D.C. children at the tennis center since 2001.
What Macaluso didn’t do was rule on whether the lease that the group had signed remains valid. The city claims that the lease is not binding because the group’s charter had lapsed when they’d signed the lease several years ago. The parties will appear again in court on Oct. 16 to address the viability of the lease.
Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry appeared in the court chamber about 20 minutes into the hearing. He spoke briefly with Cora Masters Barry and then split, with confidant Anthony Motley in tow. Shortly thereafter, civil rights icon Dorothy Height, 97, was wheeled into the hearing, joinging about 40 supporters of the Recreation Wish List Committee.
“I’m hopeful that we both can find a way to do what we both want to do: serve the children,” said Cora Masters Barry after the hearing.
More updates to come.