Judge orders imprisonment of Brookhaven sex toy shop owner

The owner of a sex toy shop in Brookhaven has been ordered to spend six months behind bars after a DeKalb County judge found him in contempt of court multiple times.

The owner of a sex toy shop in Brookhaven has been ordered to spend six months behind bars after a DeKalb County judge found him in contempt of court multiple times.

The city of Brookhaven has been involved in a legal quarrel with Stardust for years after it adopted a law in 2013 making it illegal to operate a “sexually oriented business” near a similar business or a residential district.

Stardust opened on Buford Highway in 2013 across the street from an apartment complex and next to the Pink Pony strip club, which pays a fee to the city to remain open.

City officials are claiming victory after DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott ordered that the building be padlocked if Stardust does not pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to the city. Scott also sentenced Stardust owner Michael Morrison to 180 days of imprisonment.

“This is now the fourth time that the Court has found Morrison’s operation 0f Stardust to be illegal,” Scott wrote in a ruling last Wednesday.

By Tuesday evening, Morrison had not been booked into DeKalb’s jail, according to jail logs.

The store’s attorney Cary Wiggins declined to comment Tuesday.

In a statement, the city said Stardust and Morrison now owe $863,000 in fees.

Joe Gebbia, a Brookhaven city councilman who represents the Buford Highway corridor, said the business impacted the economic development potential for the area.

“We can’t expect quality, community-focused redevelopment around adult-oriented business. It took seven years but with this victory justice has been duly served and the future of Buford Highway looks even brighter,” Gebbia said in a statement.

The store has been fined hundreds of times, and legal spats between the shop and the city have been ongoing since 2014. In 2017, the city fined Stardust $210,000 because it displayed at least 1,000 “sexual devices” for a week. The city said this classified it as a sexually oriented business, though the store deemed it an egregious fine.

Wiggins said last year that Stardust was compliant with Brookhaven code because it reduced the number of adult toys it displays to under 100. Stardust continued to fight the $210,000 fine, though the Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the fee was fair. The city’s ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses has also been challenged in court but was ultimately upheld.

Morrison had previously been held in contempt of court several times and Stardust has not paid the court-ordered fees to the city, Scott wrote.

During a hearing in February, a Brookhaven code compliance officer testified that he visited Stardust and found at least 200 sexual devices on display. He “stopped counting at 200,” the officer testified.