JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Love Shack owner John Cornetta was ordered by a Fulton County Superior Court judge Thursday to comply with city ordinances or face closure as soon as Monday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Judge Ural Glanville said Cornetta has been operating the store without a required 2007 business license, which he was denied last March. Cornetta however maintained that he is in compliance with the city's requirements for the license, and plans to re-apply for 2008.
"In the big scheme of things, it's not an important victory for the other side," Cornetta told AVN. "It's dealing with a 2007 business license - the last time I checked, this is 2008. Johns Creek is claiming a little bit of a victory, but in actuality ... this doesn't affect us. It really doesn't. We're used to [decisions] going against us, and we're still here and we're still open. And we'll be open tomorrow, and we'll be open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and so on."
That remains to be seen, though. The store cannot be closed until the judge signs a written order, but that could happen Monday.
Mayor Mike Bodker said, "We're happy with the judge's order because it vindicates that this business is operating illegally since the city's inception [Dec. 1, 2006] and brings us one step closer [...] either it operates in compliance under our laws or it closes its doors."
For a regular business license in Johns Creek, a store must have no more than 25 percent of its floor space dedicated to adult products, or the same amount of its revenue derived from them. Also, restricting admission to patrons aged 18 or older could classify an establishment as an adult business.
Cornetta said the Love Shack's inventory meets the criteria for a regular business license, and that minors are allowed on the premises if accompanied by an adult or guardian.
"We'll appeal the order for sure," Cornetta said, "but not because there's anything we can do by winning an appeal. If we win an appeal, what do we win? The only thing it does is it helps us not to create bad law, and I'm one of the operators in the U.S. that will not allow bad law to be created. I'll appeal things even when there's no real upside of doing it, other than not having bad law created.
"This judge erred, in my opinion," he went on. "He erred in a lot of people's opinion - Cary Wiggins, Louis Sirkin, Steve Youngleson, attorneys that are friends of mine that work with me. All of us met today, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, the judge - a very good judge, intelligent judge - he erred in that there is an affirmative defense, at least one affirmative defense, to the question that was brought forward, and in Georgia that's enough where the judge cannot rule on issues that have to do with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or the Georgia Constitution, and he did.
"But he said from the bench, 'It's not a padlock order; you simply have to comply and get a 2008 business license,' and we are complying," Cornetta concluded. "So we'll just apply for 2008 and appeal his decision at the same time. Small potato stuff."