Cornetta Makes Good With Charity Fundraiser

Joanne Cachapero
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Love Shack owner John Cornetta sponsored a fundraiser on Sunday to benefit the town of Johns Creek and help fund fire and rescue services for the small town.

The fundraiser featured a dunk tank event, where Cornetta and industry blogger Mike South were pummeled with bags of flour. South was standing in for Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodkner, who has refused to accept donations from Cornetta, apparently due to litigation involving the local Love Shack location and the city.

Cornetta became interested in donating for fire services after a firefighter and victim lost their lives in a tragic blaze. However, his donations have been repeatedly turned away by Bodkner, who has said that he believes that Cornetta is trying to buy influence with the Johns Creek City Council.

In August, the Johns Creek Love Shack location was issued 39 citations by the city for signage violations and the case is currently in litigation.

In September, Cornetta attempted to donate more than $5,000 with half going to funding for fire services, which Johns Creek currently does not have. The other half was earmarked for a fire victims fund.

Though the Love Shack owner went to the extent of organizing a nonprofit organization, The Cornetta Charitable Foundation (CCF), to funnel donations through to the city, Bodkner refused the money.

"I find it very ironic that the mayor would accept money from other charitable organizations,” Cornetta said. “In fact, help create one with a specific goal in mind to fight a legal business when his job is to promote business, and then to decide arbitrarily which businesses to accept from and not accept from."

At that time, Cornetta challenged the mayor to square off at the fundraising event, to be held in the Love Shack parking lot, but the mayor declined.

Cornetta asked South to stand in for the mayor during the dunk tank event where people could buy three shots at either man for $20.

He also said, “When this challenge was issued months ago to Mayor Mike Bodkner, we planned on doing this contest in a dunk tank in the cold of December. With the recent ongoing drought we’ve decided to change it from a water dunk contest to a Jell-O dunk contest.”

It is unclear why bags of flour were flung at Cornetta and South.

Donations totaled $1,400 from the fundraiser, earmarked for the city of Johns Creek. If the funds are refused, Cornetta said the chairman of the Board of Advisers for the CCF, Pastor Michael Cole of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill will have final say so over where the money goes.

Ironically, on the same day of the fundraiser, a fire completely destroyed a house in the Johns Creek area.

The Johns Creek Post said, “This is the second serious fire in Rivermont in as many months. The mostly frame, older homes may be to blame for the intensity of the fires, but insiders say it's not due to a lack of fire station coverage. A request for a report on Rivermont area fires was not immediately available.

“The City of Johns Creek is in the process of creating a fire department that is expected to be operational in late 2008. Currently, Fulton County provides fire coverage to the city through three existing stations, but that intergovernmental agreement expires in November 2008.”