The cussed and litigious proprietor has introduced in legal authorized whiz Don Samuel in a last-ditch effort to keep away from jail time. If the Georgia Supreme Courtroom once more declines to listen to his plea, he’ll most likely be in an orange jumpsuit earlier than the leaves begin turning that colour.
Final 12 months, a pissed off and irritated DeKalb County Superior Courtroom Decide Mark Anthony Scott threw the e book at Morrison in a contempt of courtroom ruling, saying He. Simply. Gained’t. Hear!
Brookhaven’s legal professional contends Morrison personally owes the town $420,000 in fines, and whoever owns (or owned) Stardust is on the hook for one more $420,000. Morrison insists he doesn’t personal, handle or management what was Stardust, though Decide Scott has differed with that opinion.
Stardust is situated on Buford Freeway. (Picture: Channel 2 Motion Information)
Samuel doesn’t know a lot about Morrison’s enterprise doings. In 2005 he was introduced in to attempt to get Morrison’s sentence for earnings tax evasion diminished. Morrison was sentenced to 46 months in jail for skimming cash from his profitable companies. He was additionally ordered to repay $1.4 million to the IRS.
Years later, after he acquired out of jail, offered his companies, paid his fines and restarted, Morrison once more referred to as Samuel as a result of Morrison had been charged with aggravated battery.
“It was a combat with a man,” Samuel recollects, “in a boxing ring!”
Morrison, who used to co-own the Biggs Morrison Boxing Health club in Midtown with combat coach Xavier Biggs, was getting offended calls from the boyfriend of a stripper that they each knew.
“So Michael instructed the man, ‘Meet me on the boxing ring and we’ll settle it like males,’” stated Samuel. “Michael decks him and the man calls the police saying, ‘I used to be lured there so he might beat me up.’”
Later the costs have been dropped and the person’s civil go well with went nowhere. Requested about that, Morrison smiled and stated, “Welcome to my life.”
Within the present case, Samuel says the decide by no means knowledgeable Morrison that he was to be held criminally liable within the civil case regarding his Brookhaven retailer. “They by no means had a sentencing or a sentencing listening to, which is unconscionable,” stated Samuel.
The litigation in Brookhaven goes again to after Morrison opened a retailer on Buford Freeway in early 2013. Months earlier, Brookhaven had grow to be a metropolis and Morrison noticed alternative — as in a loophole.
“We search for areas the place the (zoning) code doesn’t outline what we do” after which open a retailer, Morrison instructed me. “That’s no secret.”
Michael Morrison, founding father of Tokyo Valentino Erotique, puffing for his retailer, the positioning of a two-decade battle with the town. HANDOUT
The shop was close to the Pink Pony strip membership, which Brookhaven has long fought to close. In line with Brookhaven’s ordinance, Morrison’s retailer was too shut to a different grownup enterprise, in addition to being too near residences.
Brookhaven Mayor John Ernst says Morrison opened up beneath a ruse. “He violated zoning legal guidelines after which lied by way of his tooth,” the mayor stated.
For Morrison, it was extra like gradations of fact. He instructed me that when he opened the Brookhaven retailer, he declared that it was “basic mercantile — smoking, lingerie, novelty objects. Did we now have listed that we now have some intercourse toys? No we didn’t.” He stated such objects are a small portion of the shop’s income.
Within the ongoing litigation with Brookhaven, Decide Scott mandated that Stardust be restricted to displaying 100 “sexual units.” Nevertheless, the decide in his contempt of courtroom order stated that three visits from investigators discovered 120, 130 and over 200 such units. The decide’s order naming among the stock made me blush and wiggle a bit. This being a household newspaper precludes me from itemizing them.
Morrison, throughout a tour of the Atlanta retailer this week, pointed to some velvet handcuffs on show, objects he stated have been counted by the decide as “sexual units.”
“These are what acquired me in hassle,” he stated. “I suppose police provide shops are thought-about ‘grownup.’ It was a foul choice (by the decide). It was an arbitrary quantity. We complied. It was designed to place me in jail.”
Jail just isn’t an unfamiliar place for him. The Atlanta Journal-Structure’s first story about Morrison was in 1995, detailing Atlanta vice cops carting away blow-up dolls from the “baby-faced” intercourse store proprietor’s retailer. It was then referred to as “9½ Weeks,” after the sultry film. (The movie firm made him change it.)
So now Morrison is speaking about fish breeding in South America, and the Stardust retailer in Brookhaven is closed and has been changed by a vape store. (That’s progress!)
I requested Brookhaven metropolis legal professional Chris Balch if the town can lay off the fuel now that Morrison seems to be a crushed fighter.
The Pink Pony is situated off Buford Freeway in Brookhaven. JASON GETZ / JGETZ@AJC.COM
No, Balch responded. They believe Morrison is using Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope technique, the place he’d lay again and take some photographs to let his opponent tire himself out.
“I’ve each confidence that Mr. Morrison might be again and once more be an issue for each jurisdiction within the space,” Balch stated. “I don’t have the arrogance that he believes he misplaced and can abide by Decide Scott’s ruling.”
Apart from, the town has spent a minimum of $640,000 on outdoors legal professional Scott Bergthold, a right-wing spiritual warrior who has fought towards homosexual points, in keeping with Mission Q Atlanta, a gay-focused publication. Atlanta had employed Bergthold to fight Morrison’s Tokyo Valentino however lower him free two years in the past after his beliefs have been made public.
It’s a thorny difficulty that goes approach again. In 1998, then-Fulton State Courtroom Decide Gino Brogdon presided over a case through which a jury of 5 girls and one man discovered Morrison responsible of obscenity prices. The jury then blasted the “archaic” legislation in a press release learn in open courtroom, saying, “What occurs between consenting adults in non-public shouldn’t be legislated by any civil authority.”
Combating intercourse retailers stays within the DNA of metropolis and county governments, though such battles have moved to zoning, not obscenity legal guidelines.
Brogdon this week instructed me such retailers are seen as “seedy.”
“There’s a distinction between a intercourse store close to your private home and one throughout city,” he stated. “You go to the one throughout city. And also you need the one throughout the road closed down.”