Georgia Adult Store Celebrates 1st Anniversary in Court

Tod Hunter
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The Love Shack adult store in Johns Creek celebrates its one-year anniversary today on the same day that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments by attorneys H. Louis Sirkin and Cary Wiggins in Love Shack owner John Cornetta's suit against the city.

The court also will hear from Fulton County attorney Steve Rosenberg.

Before the store opened, Cornetta filed suit against the county in federal court because his request for a business license was denied, even though he had planned to have only 25 percent adult product in the store.

"I helped the county write that ordinance, because I had beaten it a year before when it was at 50 percent," Cornetta told XBIZ. "The county attorney and I are old nemeses — and friends.

"I personally found a loophole in Fulton County's ordinances that said you didn't need a business license until 30 days after you open for business. We already had an occupancy permit, so I waited until the 29th. On Dec. 1, the city of Johns Creek became a city, so I opened on the 29th knowing that I didn't need a license for 30 days."

The day after Love Shack opened, Fulton County filed for an emergency restraining order in Superior Court to shut the store down. Judge Jerry Baxter ruled that the county's claim was not an emergency and that the matter should be decided by Judge Thomas Thrash, the federal judge handling the dispute that had been filed before the store opened about the business license.

"They were in a catch-22. By then it had become Johns Creek and it's too late, I'm opened," Cornetta said.

When the business license case was completed, Thrash ruled that the Love Shack was operating as an adult bookstore, finding Cornetta in contempt of court and fining him almost $20,000 before suspending the sentence. The court also ordered Cornetta to reduce his adult inventory by a “significant” amount. When asked for a definition of “significant” by attorney H. Louis Sirkin, Thrash commented that “my order is what my order is.”

"Judge Thrash tried to close us down several times," Cornetta told XBIZ. "Overnight I would change the inventory. I brought in 30,000 items one night that were non-adult."

Cornetta appealed the lower ruling, and earlier this year the 11th Circuit decided to hear the case, setting the date for the 29th.

"All the marbles ride tomorrow, on the day that we opened," Cornetta said Wednesday.

In celebration of the one-year anniversary, Cornetta will give a 35 percent discount on all purchases at the Johns Creek Love Shack.

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