Dot Ave. bar agrees to $80,000 fine over charges it barred entrance to minorities

The owner of Peggy O'Neil's, 1310 Dorchester Ave., has agreed to pay a $80,000 fine to settle a lawsuit charging it with refusing entrance to blacks, Hispanics and Cape Verdeans, the state Attorney General's office announced Friday.

The Attorney General's office had filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the bar and owner Caron O'Neil in 2011.

In a statement, the office said:

"According to the complaint, and other pleadings in the case, Peggy O'Neil's allegedly refused to admit African-American, Hispanic, and Cape Verdean patrons on multiple occasions. Each time, Caron O'Neil or her staff allegedly told these individuals that they could not enter the bar because they did not 'know the owner' and that the bar did not want any 'trouble' or 'problems,' while at the same time admitting white patrons.

In the suit, the state charged O'Neil herself had barred two black and Cape Verdean men from entering one night in December, 2010.

Officials say the money will go to compensate victims and pay for the state's legal costs. O'Neil faces another $20,000 if found to not be complying with the agreement to end the suit, which also includes mandatory civil-rights training for her workers, as well as an agreement to not do anything to prevent members of minority groups from entering.