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Marietta suspends sex shop’s license, orders removal of adult content

The Marietta City Council has suspended the business license of Tokyo Valentino at 345 Cobb Parkway South and ordered the owner to remove all sexually explicit items from the store.
The Marietta City Council has suspended the business license of Tokyo Valentino at 345 Cobb Parkway South and ordered the owner to remove all sexually explicit items from the store.

Marietta City Council members have suspended the business license of a sex shop and ordered its owner to remove all sexually explicit items from the store.

The council's order issued late Wednesday was part of its decision to uphold an city administrative ruling in June that revoked the company's business license.

The suspension will last for six months, and owner Michael Morrison has to “immediately” remove those items from the shop at 345 Cobb Parkway South, the council’s decision states.

However, Morrison’s attorney, Cary Wiggins, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he plans to appeal the council’s ruling. An appeal means Tokyo Valentino can remain open until that process is exhausted, City Manager Bill Bruton said.

“I’m disappointed in the city’s decision, but I’m comfortable that this store is in the right,” Wiggins said.

Last month, the city ruled Tokyo Valentino in 2018 concealed what it would be selling when it applied — and was approved — for a license to sell general merchandise.

Following the city's investigation into the business in May, the business license was revoked on June 18. The company appealed the decision to the City Council.

Six witnesses testified in person during the roughly two-hour hearing about items sold in the store, the investigative process and the city’s ordinance governing adult businesses. Five of the witnesses were city of Marietta employees who testified and the sixth person does marketing and public relations for Tokyo Valentino.

Ben Smith, the city’s prosecutor, said owner Morrison concealed “material facts” on his application by not listing the sexually explicit items he planned to sell, such as sex toys, lubricants, adult pornographic videos and lingerie.

“There is an argument that he could be charged with a criminal offense,” Smith said, referring to Georgia code 16-10-20 that makes it a crime to make false statements and writings.

Wiggins argued that the city’s ordinance is unconstitutional and that its definition of an adult business targets bookstores, not stores like Tokyo Valentino.

“You’re not the first city to have an ordinance that doesn’t quite cover everything you might want it to cover and have a business come and take advantage of that,” he said.

Morrison, who recently opened another Tokyo Valentino location in East Cobb, is also facing a legal battle in Brookhaven. A DeKalb County judge in May found Morrison in contempt of court in his ongoing dispute with Brookhaven, and ordered him to be locked up for 180 days. Morrison is appealing the judge's ruling.