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X-Mart set to reopen after 8-year fight

6-4 vote settles 8-year fight against business

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An eight-year fight to keep an adult video and novelty store out of Augusta has ended.



Topic: Augusta Commission
 - Complete coverage in our topic page:

On Tuesday, Augusta commissioners voted 6-4 to settle two Augusta Video X-Mart lawsuits pending in federal court for $550,000.

Under the terms of the settlement, X-Mart will be issued an adult entertainment permit and business license, allowing it to reopen its doors at 1367 Gordon Highway.

The Florida company's local counsel, William Sussman, said X-Mart likely would reopen in a few weeks.

Commissioners Jimmy Smith, J.R. Hatney, Don Grantham and Jerry Brigham voted against the settlement. Brigham estimated that the X-Mart suits had cost the city about $150,000 in legal bills.

"While it was expensive, it probably was productive," Brigham said. "We had the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals say our business license ordinance is constitutional, as far as regulating the adult entertainment industry."

In 2002, commissioners tried to prevent X-Mart from opening by passing an ordinance that prohibited business licenses from being issued to adult businesses along gateway corridors.

X-Mart sued over the ordinance's passage, which was done without required public hearings, and was later awarded damages of $131,000 for lost income and profit from April 2002 to July 2002, when the city passed a new business license ordinance.

Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Mason said although he wouldn't shop at X-Mart, actions by a previous board to deny X-Mart a business license were wrong.

"You're kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't," he said of the settlement. "It cost all of us, but those decisions were made seven or eight years ago."

In other action

A final push by Commissioner Don Grantham to give greater preference to local vendors failed Tuesday, with the commission voting 7-2 to accept a recommendation made by Augusta's Procurement Department.

Grantham had suggested that, in jobs valued at less than $10,000, local vendors who bid within 5 percent of the low bid get the contract at whatever price they bid. He made a similar proposal, which also failed, last week in a committee meeting. Commissioner Jerry Brigham said the proposal could result in the city paying a local vendor more than the low bidder.

The commission approved 8-2 a recommenda-tion by Procurement Director Geri Sams that allows local bidders to win the job if they're within 5 percent as long as they agree to match the low bidder's price. Grantham and Jimmy Smith voted against it.

The commission also approved 9-1, with Brigham voting no, funding for Augusta Neighborhood Enhancement's Barton Village Community Center. The funds, $30,500, run out at the end of the year and are much less than the community center has received for the former federal Weed and Seed endeavor.

Neighborhood Enhancement Director Bettye Jones said the center hated to be cut but was prepared to recruit additional volunteers.

Augusta Technical College already has agreed to pay the salary of a GED instructor at the center, according to Adult Education Executive Director Stefanie Bowie.

Comments (244) Add comment
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Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 05/19/10 - 07:10 am
0
0
after all the free publicity

after all the free publicity the city of augusta has given them, they ought to be really busy

classyfox
0
Points
classyfox 05/19/10 - 07:14 am
0
0
Well Augusta, be prepared for

Well Augusta, be prepared for the wrath of God. This is a perverse generation and God is holy. If you are not saved, get saved because God will wreak havoc in this place because of the way it is so corrupt.

dani
12
Points
dani 05/19/10 - 07:22 am
0
0
Let us hope that when it

Let us hope that when it reopens - nobody comes.

Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 05/19/10 - 07:25 am
0
0
ummmm, how come God will now

ummmm, how come God will now "wreak havoc" on augusta for allowing a porn shop when he has let north augusta have one for all these years???? is it personal???? does he like north augusta more than he does augusta??? if so why, and how did you come by this knowledge?

Austin Rhodes
2970
Points
Austin Rhodes 05/19/10 - 07:27 am
0
0
I called this one eight years

I called this one eight years ago. Apparently, we have some politicians who prefer their sex LIVE...because they sure have accepted their downtown strip clubs without much of a protest.

In the meantime, the stubborn elected officials who somehow think they could manage to pull off what EVERY major city in the US has been UNABLE to accomplish (banning adult businesses in high profile areas) should have to pay this one out of their OWN DAMN POCKETS.

$700k + could have done a lot of good for the taxpayers...instead...all we got for the money was a lesson in Constitutional law.

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 05/19/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
Get over it folks....these

Get over it folks....these stores are all over the Atlanta area...in most cases the taxpayer has paid dearly for fighting the stores.

curly123053
5179
Points
curly123053 05/19/10 - 07:34 am
0
0
God speaks against the sins

God speaks against the sins of sexual immorality and sins of the flesh. This type of business is against His commandments. And, before anyone says that not all of you believe in His commands or laws, we are all going to be judged by His Words whether you believe it ir not. Wouldn't it be nice to see a couple of strategically placed lightning bolts zero in on that building along with some straight-line winds. Nothing is impossible where the wrath of God is concerned.

Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 05/19/10 - 07:34 am
0
0
seenit, you can add our names

seenit, you can add our names to that list, and the big winner is the x-mart, the city of augusta has just provided them with a lot of start up capitol, maybe they just wanted to make a donation to them, and could not do it as they would a charity, so they took the long drawn out route............

Trouble
2506
Points
Trouble 05/19/10 - 07:36 am
0
0
wouldnt hold my breath for

wouldnt hold my breath for that curly, maes has been standing waaaay to long, if the lightening was gonna start striking porn shops, maes would have been taken out a long time ago

Little Lamb
47986
Points
Little Lamb 05/19/10 - 07:44 am
0
0
Austin Rhodes' quoted figure

Austin Rhodes' quoted figure of $700k+ should give us pause, because I emphasize the + ! Now that the Augusta city government has become less hostile to requests for public records, I hope that Johnny Edwards or Susan McCord or Sylvia Cooper (or perhaps Scott Hudson at WGAC) will dig into the records and find out the true costs that the city paid to Jim Wall and other lawyers (including the time that on-staff personnel took up with this case). I suspect it is much, much, much more than Jerry Brigham's $150k swag.

libertarianvoter
0
Points
libertarianvoter 05/19/10 - 07:56 am
0
0
Your personal beliefs and

Your personal beliefs and slippery slope fantasies (which is a fallacy) about what will happen to Augusta now that a porn shop opened up is IRRELEVANT. If a business is legal (as this one is), then leave them alone. How does it feel to know that you gave tax money only to have the shop open back up? On the news the commissioners said they consider it a success b/c at least the shop stayed closed for some time. It's a success when you waste taxpayer money on LOSING arguments? Wow.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 05/19/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
X-mart sells a legal product

X-mart sells a legal product and if you don't like what they offer, do not shop there. If enough people refuse to shop there, they will go out of business. However, I have a feeling they will do booming business.

citizen7
49
Points
citizen7 05/19/10 - 08:07 am
0
0
God have mercy when everyone

God have mercy when everyone in this country throws their hands up and looks the other way. Speaking to all Christians: don't count the cost when standing against sin, even though we all are sinners. That would be like the apostle Peter giving up preaching because he denied Christ three times.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 05/19/10 - 08:08 am
0
0
Re: Paywhatyouowe @ 7:10-

Re: Paywhatyouowe @ 7:10- What an awful thing to write. (And by awful, I mean true.)

BTW, if you want to go back to the last time this topic surfaced, I predicted this outcome, nanana-na-na!

Lonewuf
5
Points
Lonewuf 05/19/10 - 08:19 am
0
0
It's NOT a sandwich .....

It's NOT a sandwich ..... Grrrr .... It's a tortada!

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 05/19/10 - 08:23 am
0
0
This has been a really bad

This has been a really bad morning; I also find myself in agreement with Brad Owens believing churches should pay taxes. The most glaring example of that springs to mind is the 'Broadway' controversy.

For those new to the area, an enterpreneur was planning on opening an actual adult dinner restaurant on Broad Street. This was a terrific idea, especially at the time; a dogfighting ring would have brought class to that section of town. Well, the owner followed all the zoning laws, set backs and received all the required licenses. Except, it turns out, they hadn't-- For you see, a local church incited one of their "turnout the rubes" flashmobs at the commissioners' meeting and the liquor license was denied. Did I mention the business had complied with every legal requirement? Having an adult supper club without adult beverages is a no-go and non-starter, so the business went to court. The business prevailed, but in the interim, the club went under; its capital drained by the legal battle, and Augusta lost not only an upscale place to go out to, but all that tax revenue as well as the outrageous amount of money poured into the indefensible court case. See a pattern here?

RightWingNut
0
Points
RightWingNut 05/19/10 - 08:24 am
0
0
[It's just not what anyone

[It's just not what anyone should see coming off the expressway. What adults do in the privacy of their homes, that fine. But it's just not in an appropriate place.]

Hmm. Sure hope it doesn't bring down property values in the area...

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 05/19/10 - 08:38 am
0
0
It's sad that an

It's sad that an establishment like this is allowed to open but it is legal and laws are laws. Curley I must agree, my first thought was hope the Lord stricks this business down but in actuality I believe the good Lord is just letting Satan destroy this country bit by bit from within and when we've finally had enough, maybe (just maybe) we will fall on our knees and ask for forgiveness. We have turned so far away from what is right and moral, to the point that almost anything goes, so why should he intervene in just another one of Satan's destructive ploys. Christians need to stop fighting and start praying. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful.

Miss Hap
0
Points
Miss Hap 05/19/10 - 08:41 am
0
0
Gordon Hwy is a gateway to

Gordon Hwy is a gateway to the city and as such it should be a shining example of our city. A place like X-Mart will really drag down the charm of this 'gateway'. Its not as if there's any abandoned malls, seedy motels, pawn shops, homeless people wandering around, weeds and trash along the edges or a prison visible on that roadway.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 05/19/10 - 08:42 am
0
0
I'm beginning to the the

I'm beginning to the the "moral majority" is neither moral or the majority.

mommie2
2
Points
mommie2 05/19/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
I can't believe people are

I can't believe people are still debating this. The world would be a much better place if we all just minded our own business. The government has no place telling us what to do behind closed doors and neither does the Christian majority. And it's idiotic to think that Christians don't enjoy a little bit of "extra" stuff in the bedroom. If you want to buy sex toys, great...go buy them. If not, shut up about it and move on to something else.

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 05/19/10 - 08:55 am
0
0
Seems to me XMart's location

Seems to me XMart's location is in the right spot, between three run down "notel" motels and not much else. This could be the answer to localizing the prostitutes that stand in the middle of peach orchard rd.to flag down "dates". What do they say,"Location,location,location".

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 05/19/10 - 09:06 am
0
0
"The government has no place

"The government has no place telling us what to do behind closed doors and neither does the Christian majority" You are right, but when what goes on behind closed doors is made public and the products used behind closed doors is sold in public, and the business that advertises products used behind closed doors is made public, then as a citizen of this country, and a resident of this county, I have a right to publicly disagree with the opening of this business whether I am a Christian, Buddist, Atheist, or whatever. Christianity is just a small portion of the outrage of the opening of this business. There are a lot of citizens, some who happen to be Christians, who wish this business would never open. Legally it has a right to but when you tell me to shut up and move on, you are saying my opinion and right to voice it doesn't matter. If the outcome had been different and this business had lost, would that give me a right to tell you to shut up and move on if you voice your opinion that the decision was wrong. Such nice manners mommie2.

Little Lamb
47986
Points
Little Lamb 05/19/10 - 09:06 am
0
0
Thank you, Miss Hap. Another

Thank you, Miss Hap. Another "gateway" to our city is 13th street. When you enter the city that way, what do you see? A menacing brick wall and some vacant buildings!

Little Lamb
47986
Points
Little Lamb 05/19/10 - 09:40 am
0
0
Another "gateway" into our

Another "gateway" into our city is Washington Road at Pleasant Home. There you are greeted with a used car lot on the left, a vacant used car lot on the right, and a shopping center with Cadillac's bar at the red light.

Little Lamb
47986
Points
Little Lamb 05/19/10 - 09:43 am
0
0
Another "gateway" into our

Another "gateway" into our city is Hwy. 56. Coming in from the south you are greeted with woodland, and when you see the railroad tracks, you are reminded of one of Georgia's most important industries, as there are piles of pine bark on the highway from the pulpwood trucks bouncing when they hit the tracks.

montega12
0
Points
montega12 05/19/10 - 10:05 am
0
0
amazing totally amazing you

amazing totally amazing you people are worried about movies and stuff people take to their private homes but you are completely ok with the downtown strip clubs talk about pedos girls as young as 18 dance naked for men old enough to be their fathers and in some cases grandfathers and your worried about x mart

RAWR
0
Points
RAWR 05/19/10 - 10:17 am
0
0
You prudes never cease to

You prudes never cease to amaze. Arguing that it is against YOUR christian values. Trying to compare it to pedophilia. The culture is evolving into one that people are not ashamed that they enjoy themselves sexually. While I think that some of the things are too disgusting for me. Who am I, more importantly who are you, to tell people what they can and cannot do with their bodies?

Just think of how much tax money this establishment could've paid out over the 8 years. But you prudes would rather waste tax payers money to prevent it from opening, which is going to happen anyways.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 05/19/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
I'm glad its back open. Only

I'm glad its back open. Only had a chance to check it out once before it was shut down. It was so much cleaner and nicer than Mae's. I don't understand people who wouldn't want a LEGAL business operating in a DEAD part of town, bringing in tax money, some of that free market jazz. Don't like it? Don't frequent it. Same attitude I have about McDonalds.

KatieLou
0
Points
KatieLou 05/19/10 - 10:24 am
0
0
@Grouse (7:54amWed): It's

@Grouse (7:54amWed):

It's more like you can't come up with a cogent response to my pointing out the flaws in your reasoning, so you toss out a throw-away taunt.

Yawn.

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