ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) — Actor Randy Quaid and his wife were ordered held on $500,000 bail each in Vermont on Monday on charges that they skipped out of the country five years ago after being charged with vandalism in California.
The Quaids were detained at the Canadian border Friday night while trying to re-enter the United States after Canadian officials granted Evi Quaid citizenship but denied Randy Quaid permanent residence and said he would be deported.
They’re wanted in Santa Barbara, California, to face felony charges filed in 2010 after they were found squatting in a guesthouse of a home they previously owned.
Court papers said the Quaids damaged or destroyed furniture, a fireplace and a mirror in the guesthouse. They’re charged with occupying the property illegally and failure to appear for court dates. Evi Quaid also is charged with impeding Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies.
The Quaids had separate court appearances Monday — she in Burlington, near the state women’s prison where she is being held, and he 28 miles north in St. Albans, near the men’s prison where he is locked up.
In St. Albans, the “Independence Day” actor argued unsuccessfully for lower bail, saying his legal woes were the fault of a bail bondsman who failed to notify him of a scheduled court appearance.
“We heard about it through the Internet that we had missed this court appearance that we didn’t know anything about,” Quaid told Judge Alison Arms of the criminal division of the Franklin Superior Court.
The judge repeatedly said that $500,000 was unusually high bail for property crimes, but added she was not persuaded to lower it. She interrupted Quaid’s statement and asked his lawyer, Peter Langrock, “Do you have any support for this?”
Langrock said he had a document from a California state agency that regulates bail bondsmen, but the judge was not satisfied.
“The court has nothing that validates anything that he (Quaid) is saying,” Arms said. “What the court has right now is a $500,000 warrant from a judge in California.”
Franklin County State’s Attorney Jim Hughes asked for a three-day continuance of the case, saying that because California’s courts were closed for the Columbus Day holiday, he had been unable to obtain some needed paperwork. He asked that in the meantime, the Vermont court defer to the bail set in California.
Langrock said it’s likely the charges in California will be dropped, and that he believes the case has been blown out of proportion.
“If we’re talking about $500,000 bail for breaking a mirror, that’s an unusual situation. And I don’t believe it would be happening if it weren’t for the fact that he is a, quote, celebrity,” he said.
The Quaids also were charged in 2009 with defrauding an innkeeper of more than $10,000 after an invalid credit card was used at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California.
Felony charges were later dropped against Randy Quaid. His wife pleaded no contest and was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Randy Quaid won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in “LBJ: The Early Years,” but he’s perhaps best known for his roles in the “National Lampoon’s Vacation” movies, “Independence Day” and “Kingpin.”
He is the older brother of fellow actor Dennis Quaid.