Originally created 01/08/98

Mayor to prosecute former opponent



BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Brunswick's new mayor wants to prosecute his former election opponent for having an illegal adult bookstore, and the former opponent is eager for the court fight even though his former city commission colleagues aren't.

On Aug. 13, Ken Plyman got a citation for a six-month-old ordinance because his J's Newsstand is less than 500 feet from a liquor store. He was cited Sept. 2 for failing to buy a $1,000 license required of adult entertainment businesses.

Municipal Court Judge William T. Ligon Jr. disqualified himself from hearing the case because Mr. Plyman voted on his appointment. No other judge was assigned, and the case was removed from the court calender.

Although Mr. Plyman resigned from office in late August, there was still the potential for conflict because he was in the mayor's race. With his defeat in November, the conflict ended, according to Bradford Brown, winner of the mayor's race.

Mr. Brown said he wants to get Mr. Plyman before a judge or amend the ordinance and avoid a court battle. "I don't want this hanging over the city," Mr. Brown said.

To avoid a court battle with Mr. Plyman, commissioners would have to change the distance provisions, said City Attorney Eugene Highsmith.

Although the city would probably win in court, Mr. Highsmith said, "we (would) have gone through a lot of time, effort and expense to accomplish almost nothing" because Mr. Plyman still has the right to operate his business somewhere in the small city.

Mr. Highsmith recommended the license fee be halved to $500 for adult bookstores because those establishments don't require the same police supervision as bars and nightclubs.

Mr. Plyman said he is ready to go to court because he wants to be absolved or to file a lawsuit challenging the ordinance's constitutionality if he loses.

"I don't mind going to court," he said. "Take me to court, or grandfather me in."