Family Video to Fight Charges

AUBURN, N.Y. - Family Video says it will fight charges brought by the city of Auburn that the store violated city code regarding the rental of adult movies.

The Auburn Citizen reported today that Michael F. McKeon, the judge who adjourned the case, recused himself because he wrote the ordinance in question while performing as city attorney in 1998. In addition, McKeon's court attorney served on the city planning board when Family Video applied to open the store.

According to the Citizen, Family Video director of real estate Douglas Klang said he doesn't believe Family Video fits the city code's definition of a "sexually oriented business."

Kang noted that Family Video has a separate, age-restricted area for adult videos and only makes up a small percentage of the store's operation, and as such does not meet the city's definition of a sexually-oriented business. "We do not feel that this ordinance applies to us," Klang told the Citizen.

The city argues that Family Video violates a municipal code that requires sexually oriented businesses to stay at least 500 feet away from any residential dwelling. City Manager Mark Palesh contends that by offering adult materials, even if only a minute part of the store's overall business, the store can be defined as being sexually-oriented.

Palesh also indicated he thought Family Video's name was misleading the public. "It seems like a trap to bring families in and then expose them to the worst of society," he told the Citizen. "I, for one, will never expose my family to that store again."

Until the case is resolved, Klang said Family Video would not make any changes to its operation. "We feel that there's a silent majority out there that this is not an issue for," he said.

Family Video Movie Club is the third-largest chain of video stores in America. The Glenview, Ill.-based company opened the Auburn store in October of last year.