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Contempt order sought against Love Shack

Johns Creek, Georgia- Fulton County plans today to ask a federal judge to issue a contempt of court order for the owner of an adult video store in the new north Fulton city of Johns Creek.

Steven Rosenberg, Fulton County’s senior county attorney, was preparing to file the request with U.S. District Court in Atlanta by early afternoon.

It was not immediately clear when a hearing might be set.

If the county prevails, the judge could fine and jail the owner, John Cornetta, and shut down the controversial store called the Love Shack.

It’s the latest turn in a fast-moving, high-profile battle being fought in the courts by Fulton County and Cornetta. Although the store is in the city of Johns Creek, Fulton County is pursuing the case because the proceedings began before the city became officially incorporated.

“It’s disappointing to have this here,” said Kim Hart, a Johns Creek resident and mother of two. She was outside the Love Shack on Thursday, hoping to see county officials padlock the doors.

“I’m a parent and I need to fight this fight,” she said.

U.S. Judge Thomas Thrash on Tuesday found that the Love Shack, which opened Nov. 29 on Jones Bridge Road at State Bridge Road, was an adult store operating illegally because it lacked appropriate permits and certificates from Fulton County.

But his ruling gave the store some wiggle room.

He said he would find the owner, John Cornetta, in contempt if he continued to offer significant amounts of adult material, implying the store could stay open if Cornetta reduced the amount of adult inventory until a final hearing – as yet unscheduled.

Thrash would not define what he meant by “significant.” Thrash also stayed his order until 3 p.m. Thursday so that Cornetta could appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

All Wednesday night and much of Thursday, Cornetta was stripping his shelves of much of his adult wares and stocking it with other items, such as comic books, purses and sportswear. He said he had reduced his adult inventory from 17 percent of the total to about 5 percent, which he said shouldn’t be a significant amount to anybody.

Nonetheless, county code inspectors on Thursday toured the store and cited him for operating an adult store without proper zoning. To qualify as an adult store requires an adult inventory of 25 percent of the total.

Cornetta also offers lingerie, pipes, lubricants, and other material not defined by law as adult in nature.

Cornetta has sued in federal court because he says the county has arbitrarily refused to give him a business license. He maintains his adult material inventory is so low he should qualify as a regular business.

He opened on Nov. 29, two days before the city of Johns Creek began legal operation, citing a provision in the permitting law that gives a business 30 days to obtain permits and licenses after opening.


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