Brookhaven wins Stardust lawsuit, sparks public debate

The city of Brookhaven announced May 22 it won a legal battle against Stardust Adult Stores on Buford Highway and Stardust owner Michael Morrison.

According to Brookhaven officials, Morrison has been sentenced to 180 days incarceration for criminal contempt and ordered to pay more than $863,000 in fines.

Brookhaven also posted the statement from DeKalb Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott, ruling against Stardust, 3007 LLC and Morrison.

“This is now the fourth time that the court has found Morrison’s operation of Stardust to be illegal,” Scott wrote in his order. “This Court found Morrison and Stardust in violation of the City’s regulations, so it entered the Injunctive Order…it is a willful contempt of this injunctive order. Therefore, the court punishes Morrison by imposing a term of 180 days imprisonment.”

Scott’s order also directs DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office to enforce the closure order, “if necessary, by padlocking the Stardust building.”

As of May 26, the city of Brookhaven government’s Facebook post titled, “Brookhaven wins another decisive victory against illegal business,” had 125 comments; many of which were in defense of Stardust.

Brookhaven answered some community members’ questions on Facebook.

City officials stated “This business has been operating without a legal business license for more than [six] years. Everyone else is playing fairly … except Stardust.”

According to Brookhaven City Attorney Chris Balch, the Brookhaven ordinance prohibiting sexually oriented businesses was already passed when Stardust applied to open as a novelty store. Brookhaven city officials granted the business a license as a novelty store but state Stardust misrepresented what type of business it is.

“[The city of Brookhaven’s] Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance passed by the First Council in 2013 at its first meeting,” Balch stated on Facebook. “That Ordinance provides where a Sexually Oriented Business can operate (not within 100 feet of another [sexually oriented business] and not within 300 feet of a residential property or a house of worship) and how they can operate (number of devices for sale at any one time). Stardust violates all three restrictions by being next door to the Pony, across the street from residential properties, and displaying hundreds of sexual devices for sale in its store. The ordinance has been upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court (twice) and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.”

City officials stated litigation between the city of Brookhaven and Stardust has been ongoing since 2014 in state and federal courts, and the city has always won as a plaintiff and never lost as a defendant.


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