Sale of Metzger's House to Pay Judgment Is Ordered

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A San Diego Superior Court judge Thursday ordered the sale of white supremacist Tom Metzger's Fallbrook house to help pay part of a $12.5-million civil judgment against Metzger and his racial hate organization, White Aryan Resistance.

Judge James Milliken gave Metzger and his family 60 days to pack up their things.

Metzger, ordered Wednesday by Milliken to turn over a few hundred dollars in two bank accounts to help satisfy the $12.5 million award, said Thursday he expected to lose his house. "This was just going through the motions," he said.

The $12.5-million judgment was returned last October by a jury in Portland, Ore., that found Metzger, his son, John, the White Aryan Resistance and two skinheads liable in the beating death of Mulugeta Seraw, a 27-year-old Ethiopian immigrant.

Seraw's skull was split open when he was attacked by skinheads in November, 1988.

The jury found that the two skinheads, who pleaded guilty in the slaying, were incited by the Metzgers and his group's campaign of racial hatred. The case was pursued on behalf of Seraw's relatives by lawyer Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.

Metzger, 52, a television repairman who calls himself a "white separatist," is appealing the verdict.

Meanwhile, lawyers, led by San Diego attorney James McElroy, have been busy in various courts trying to collect on the lawsuit.

McElroy consistently has put the value of Metzger's Fallbrook house at $150,000. Metzger said Thursday it is worth $90,000.

Under state law, Metzger is entitled to a "homestead exemption," giving him some of the proceeds from the sale. It's unclear whether that amount should be $45,000, McElroy's contention, or $75,000, Metzger's claim, and that remains to be worked out.

Even after moving out, Metzger said, he plans to remain in Fallbrook. "We will stay here," he said. "We like the weather, and the kids go to school here. And we'll wait for the appeals court to ram it to Dees. He's got a much nicer house I want to get hold of."

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