Love Shack Appeal Denied

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Love Shack owner John Cornetta has been found in contempt of court by a Fulton County judge and denied his appeal in Federal Court for a retroactive business license that would have brought him into compliance with the city's zoning laws, according to local news sources.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville ruled March 28 that Cornetta was in contempt of court for continuing to operate the Love Shack in disregard of his Feb. 28 ruling that the store qualified as an adult business and thus could not operate in its current location per Johns Creek zoning regulations.

Federal Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. on Monday denied Cornetta's appeal of the city's March, 2007 denial of his application for a regular business license. Thrash ruled that Cornetta's case was not ripe, meaning he had not pursued the proper chain of command in his appeal, and thus it was not yet in the jurisdiction of the federal court.

In an e-mailed statement, Cornetta maintained that these setbacks are not as dire as they may seem. Cornetta's statement:

Once again, I have appealed both these decisions, and once again I am certain we will be victorious. We believe that once again Judge Thrash has made an error in his decision that the case is moot due to ripeness.

This case was ripe the moment Fulton County decided not to issue a business license solely based on content. This occurred months before the creation of the city of Johns Creek, and the 11th Circuit will clearly see that the case is and was ripe and that the damage phase of that case should be allowed to proceed against the county.       

As for Judge Glanville, we respect all court decisions and are complying as best we know how. We have already filed a motion for reconsideration with Judge Glanville. If that is denied, then we will be appealing his decision as well.

The one key point that no one is reporting is that the city of Johns Creek legal team made a tactful error and a huge one at that. Their legal team, led by Scott Bergtold himself, failed to enter or consider any studies at the time they enacted the Johns Creek Adult Entertainment Ordinance. Then they failed again to make them part of the record in the state case with judge Glanville. They attempted to enter them later, but Cary Wiggins fought to keep them out saying if we could not bring in new evidence they should not be able to either. Well the one thing we did win was keeping those studies out.

So what appears on the surface to be a complete victory for Johns Creek is the exact opposite. They have no SOB [Sexually Oriented Business] ordinance. When taken up on appeal the record stands as is. And since they relied on no studies to enact their ordinance and can not supplement the record, their ordinance furthers no governmental interest and is thereby purely content based and invalid. Case closed. So one thing is certain at this point: what appears to be a victory for government is a victory for free speech and the people, and as I have said all along, WE WILL PREVAIL.