Judge Blocks SE Tennis and Learning Center Eviction

WASHINGTON -- A D.C. Superior Court judge has temporarily blocked the eviction of the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.

Cora Masters Barry, the estranged wife of Councilman Marion Barry, runs the center through her non-profit Recreation Wish List Committee. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's office issued an eviction notice when the group didn't renew its corporate registration.

When the lease was signed in 2006, the group was registered as a corporation. Recreation Wish List is working to clear up the discrepancy, but the city moved forward with the eviction, anyway.

Councilman Phil Mendelson has called for the city to back off.

The judge scheduled a new court date for Oct. 16 and ordered the city take no action against the center before then.

The center has the support of some big names -- tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, poet Maya Angelou and activist Dorothy Height. Angelou and Height reportedly have been trying to meet with Fenty since late August. Height was at Superior Court when the judge ordered the block Tuesday. She said Fenty still hasn't talked to her about the eviction.

Councilman Harry Thomas has warned that the city may have underestimated the center's national reach and said he would hold an oversight hearing.

The center has earned accolades as both a quality place to learn and play tennis and a quality place to study and get help with schoolwork.

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