Actor Randy Quaid, wife want apology for arrest

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Randy Quaid and his wife are crying foul over their arrests last year on a charge they failed to pay a California hotel bill, which they claim was the result of a series of mishaps and unfortunate events.

Quaid’s wife, Evi, who oversees the family accounting, said on Sunday the arrest on a charge of defrauding an innkeeper led to them being mistreated by police and wrongly called criminals in the media after, in fact, the bill had already been paid.

Until now, the Quaids have remained publicly silent about the incident expecting the case to be dismissed, but they will be back in a California courtroom on Monday for a hearing at which they hope to set the record straight.

“I believe what we are, is people who deserve an apology,” Evi told Reuters.

The district attorney’s office in Santa Barbara, a wealthy community northwest of Los Angeles where the charge was filed, was closed on Sunday and no one was available to comment.

A spokesman for the hotel, the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara County, said their view is that the roughly $10,000 bill was paid and the matter resolved -- end of story.

Yet to hear the Quaids tell it, the mix-up in the billing should never have happened, and her arrest was a harrowing experience in which she ended up in a men’s prison in Texas.

“Bad things can happen to good people when things spiral out of control,” Evi Quaid said.

She said the couple had enjoyed a long relationship with the company that owns the San Ysidro Ranch, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, and that they had always been billed directly to their credit cards and those invoices were paid without question.

In June last year, they spent one week at the hotel, left as they typically do, and never heard about a bill until law enforcement officers came to their Texas ranch in September.

When told of an arrest warrant for them, the Quaids sent a cashier’s check to the hotel for roughly one-half the amount and asked for a signed statement in return saying their credit card would not be charged for a like amount.

The statement never came back, but the cops did, first hauling Evi into a jail and then Randy. The Quaids paid the remainder and figured the matter was closed, but it wasn’t.

Various news outlets, including Reuters, ran headlines about how they didn’t pay the bill, and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” labeled them “pinheads.”

When their first arraignment was canceled because the district attorney suddenly fell ill, they were arrested again for failure to appear in court, landing Evi in a solitary cell in a Texas men’s prison around Christmas Eve.

Still, she said she’s not bitter. She just wants the case closed and the record set straight.

Reporting and writing by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by DGoodman