BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — A North Georgia couple denies evicting their tenant because she had a black family come over for a playdate.
The claims against Allen and Patricia McCoy are in a federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta’s Northern District Wednesday. The tenant, Victoria Sutton, is represented by the ACLU of Georgia in the housing discrimination claim.
Sutton said Allen McCoy called her a "n-word lover" shortly after a black co-worker’s family left her Adairsville rental home last fall.
Sutton said she had invited them over for a playdate and hugged the co-worker goodbye. The complaint said, later in the day, Mr. McCoy told her she should be ashamed of herself and he would call Child Protective Services for having a “n-word on their property.”
Later in the evening, Sutton said she called Patricia McCoy at Allen McCoy’s direction after he threatened to evict her, saying she should have thought about the consequences before she “brought that n-word around.”
Sutton said she recorded that conversation, and Patricia McCoy allegedly said, “I don’t put up with n-words in my (house) and I don’t want them in my property.”
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Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr went to Gordon County to ask the McCoys, who are in their late '70s, about the allegations.
Carr: Is there any truth to that?
Allen McCoy: Nope (shaking head)
McCoy: Some of the best friends I got is colored.
Carr: Your best friends are colored?
McCoy: Yes, sir.
McCoy went on to ask Carr whether she knew one of his black neighbors, and she answered no. He also accused Sutton of damaging the property, a claim refuted in the lawsuit.
McCoy: You couldn't walk through it (the home)….The people livin' in it now could (inaudible)
Carr: So it was damaged property, not black people that you had a problem with?
McCoy: (grunts) Let me get the ole lady out. And tell ya 'bout….
McCoy called his wife outside and she echoed her husband, saying bathrooms, walls and doors were damaged, and she had to replace carpet in the home to prepare it for new tenants.
“Some of my best friends are black,” she added.
The complaint goes onto say the McCoys violated a court-ordered eviction notice, in which a judge required the McCoys to give 60 days for her, the father of her children and three young children to move out of the home. The McCoys told Carr they didn’t remove belongings from the home before that time.
Sutton said the ordeal caused her to scramble for housing and rush to make school accommodations for a special needs child.
“I wasn’t shocked at all because racism is alive and well today,” said Sean J. Young, legal director for the ACLU of Georgia.
“Racial discrimination is wrong, and whether it manifests in the form of this kind of blatant commentary or whether it happens more insidiously behind the scenes, it’s wrong in every instance,” Young said.