Augusta must pay X-Mart almost $131,000

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For keeping Augusta's only adult video store closed for 99 days in 2002, the city must pay $130,941 in damages, a judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Senior Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. reached the decision after hearing from witnesses about what income and profit Augusta Video X-Mart could have made.

Augusta taxpayers might also be liable for the X-Mart's legal bills. Attorney Gary S. Edinger estimated they might be in the range of $250,000.

If the attorney bills are submitted, Augusta's attorney might challenge the amount. The judge would hear from both sides before ruling.

Taxpayers are liable for the X-Mart's damages because city commissioners rushed to pass a new adult entertainment ordinance to keep the store from opening in April 2002 without proper notice for a public meeting.

Though Judge Bowen found the city's second effort to create a new ordinance constitutional, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed him, saying the X-Mart was entitled to grandfather status.

X-Mart owner Evgueni Souliaguine, of North Miami Beach, sought damages from the point he intended to open in April 2002 to the present. Earlier this year, Judge Bowen ruled that because X-Mart could not have gotten a business license after new city ordinances were enacted in July 2002, the damages were limited from April 11 to July 18, 2002.

Representing the city, attorney James Wall argued that the X-Mart owner intentionally inflated his earnings in 2003. The city estimated damages at about $30,000. The store was open for 11 months in 2003 on Gordon Highway.

Judge Bowen said he doubted Mr. Souliaguine would have falsified his federal tax returns.

According to the X-Mart's business records and Mr. Souliaguine's tax returns for 2003, the store's income was nearly $1.46 million. After expenses, he cleared more than $460,000 in profit.

"I'm looking for lost profits," Judge Bowen said in explaining his findings. "Here we have a business that not only succeeded but flourished."

Judge Bowen calculated what he considered the baseline profit by subtracting some expenses and adding others. For the 99 days X-Mart was closed, he awarded $1,323 for each day.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (58) Add comment
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jshiver15
0
Points
jshiver15 08/19/09 - 04:55 am
0
0
Good for them.

Good for them.

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 08/19/09 - 05:53 am
0
0
This is why so many people

This is why so many people shouldn't be in law or on the city's commission. You cannot allow your personal feelings get in the way of business. Sometimes you have to do what is legally right despite how strongly you disagree. Now everyone is going to be punished.

Grasshopper
7
Points
Grasshopper 08/19/09 - 06:03 am
0
0
That is a huge return on his

That is a huge return on his investment. To bad I have morals.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 08/19/09 - 06:24 am
0
0
This money could have helped
Unpublished

This money could have helped to pay for the new trash pick up
rate increase. Again the city does not care about the taxpayers!
Drop to one trash pick up a week, if the trash company barks
tell them to take a hike and let us pay our own trash pickup
through private collectors.

Dixieman
14964
Points
Dixieman 08/19/09 - 06:28 am
0
0
How many DVDs will X-Mart

How many DVDs will X-Mart give the Commissioners for this payment? And can we watch them too?

Riverman1
84084
Points
Riverman1 08/19/09 - 06:33 am
0
0
Many of us predicted what

Many of us predicted what would happen. It appears the city will end up out of almost a half million dollars before this is over. This chapter in Augusta's history should be labeled STUPIDITY.

1941
4
Points
1941 08/19/09 - 06:34 am
0
0
If anyone is talking about,

If anyone is talking about, taking away someones freedom, this was one that was taken!If someone want's to go to X-Mart, who has the right to tell them they can't go!! They should have made them pay three times as much!!People should keep thier morals to them selves!!!

carrera gt
0
Points
carrera gt 08/19/09 - 07:18 am
0
0
Grasshopper, If you figure

Grasshopper, If you figure $131,000 per 100 days over a 7 year period thats about 3.6 times $131,000 times 7 years and that would come out to $3,301,200. Add to that attorney's fees. Since the court ruled they should have been grandfathered in they should have been allowed to open. If there wasn't enough business to stay open they would fold. It wasn't just two guys in trench coats spending this kind of money. If the city loses the constitutional case you can figure that with 200,000 people living in Augusta it will cost $16.50 for every man woman and child living in the county. Where are the morals of the commissioners forcing everyone, wether they buy porn or not, to pay for it.

Little Lamb
46029
Points
Little Lamb 08/19/09 - 07:22 am
0
0
Will Chiquita be honest in

Will Chiquita be honest in telling us what the city has paid and will pay in the future to the lawyers defending this action? Or will she use creative bookkeeping to keep us in the dark?

Riverman1
84084
Points
Riverman1 08/19/09 - 07:37 am
0
0
Oh, I have no doubt there are

Oh, I have no doubt there are more lawsuits coming out of this and more money to be wasted by the city.

justus4
101
Points
justus4 08/19/09 - 07:45 am
0
0
Told ya. Didn't former Comm.
Unpublished

Told ya. Didn't former Comm. Williams warn those idiots what would happen? Another example of uninformed elected officials costing taxpayer dollars based on personal feelings. Smart people don't do such stupid things. Each commissioners who supported the government should be held accountable for their foolishness and money should taken from them. They are responsible for this mess...they did it. Now print their names and put a mic in their face and ask: Why did U think the government should pick winners & losers?

Georgiais1
0
Points
Georgiais1 08/19/09 - 07:46 am
0
0
This is what happens when you

This is what happens when you put inept, corrupt folks on the commission that have no clue about laws or how to manage businesses. These people are in it for themselves. It has not changed, just like it was when Marrion thye instigator was on it. As long as these voters vote in people based on race and not qualifications, these problems will continue.

pointstoponder
161
Points
pointstoponder 08/19/09 - 08:08 am
0
0
Justus, I don't recall

Justus, I don't recall Williams doing anything of the sort. He was always quick to jump on the sue the city bandwagon and got more than his fair share of taxpayer dollars.

Frank I
1191
Points
Frank I 08/19/09 - 08:15 am
0
0
this is the commission's

this is the commission's bill, not the taxpayers... it should come out of their salaries....

MJDW
0
Points
MJDW 08/19/09 - 08:18 am
0
0
Bill the commissioners that

Bill the commissioners that were in office at the time and maybe next time a bussiness want to open and hire pepole and pay taxes they will think twice. As a Richmond Cty.working tax payer I tired of picking up other people's mess and I sure I'm not alone.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7808
Points
ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 08/19/09 - 08:43 am
0
0
I've finally connected it,

I've finally connected it, from all his comments justus IS Marion Williams.. No wonder he keeps blowing that dried up old horn!

philsreel
26
Points
philsreel 08/19/09 - 08:46 am
0
0
Augusta,you have a Landfeild

Augusta,you have a Landfeild of Lawsuits headed your way.Deke you are a smart young man, fix this constitutional problem

klsm
0
Points
klsm 08/19/09 - 08:49 am
0
0
Okay ... here is my argument.

Okay ... here is my argument. This place was shut down supposedly because it is in a "gateway" to our community, right? But, that sign advertising the place has been there the entire time of this lawsuit. So, people coming thru that "gateway" who are not from Augusta (i.e., The Masters guest) thing we already HAVE/HAD a place selling adult entertainment items BECAUSE OF THE LARGE SIGN THERE! What is the point? Now the City has to pay the owner when the entire time this lawsuit has been going on the City could have been receiving revenue from this place. And just maybe that one corner of property in that area wouldn't look condemned like everything else in that area. IDIOTS!

convertedsoutherner
2
Points
convertedsoutherner 08/19/09 - 08:50 am
0
0
Any busineess that would come

Any busineess that would come to Augusta/Richmond Cnty is out of their mind. After looking at the way the commissioners handle themselves and their dealings with businessses, people should run away from the area as fast as they can.

carrera gt
0
Points
carrera gt 08/19/09 - 08:51 am
0
0
Marion Williams, despite

Marion Williams, despite being a preacher, did say that the city was opening a big bag of hurt if it did not allow this business to open. He didn't like it but knew it would cost the city a lot of money if they stopped it. He's right so far.

klsm
0
Points
klsm 08/19/09 - 08:51 am
0
0
And to get on my soapbox a

And to get on my soapbox a little longer ... why hasn't the City gone after the Parliment House? WE ALL KNOW WHAT GOES ON BEHIND THOSE HEDGES AND WALLS! That is more of an eyesore and embarassment to the community. You cannot buy an XXX movie in Augusta but you can go have real live adult entertainment between the hedges! OMG! Wake up Richmond County.

BananaBarry
0
Points
BananaBarry 08/19/09 - 08:52 am
0
0
Any one notice the owner of

Any one notice the owner of Xmart is a Mafia criminal?

I place more of the corruption on Soulinguine's shoulders than a few commissoners who gave in to the devil's work.

peace4784
117
Points
peace4784 08/19/09 - 08:53 am
0
0
It just does not pay being a
Unpublished

It just does not pay being a hypocrite. Why is Lucy's Love Shop still in business? Is it because some of her customers are members of the commission?

klsm
0
Points
klsm 08/19/09 - 08:56 am
0
0
Please if XMART was open most

Please if XMART was open most of the Commissioners, their families, and the entire Sheriff's Department from all over the CSRA would be in there on their off days purchasing items! Are they so smallminded that we say one thing and do another ... absolutely!!! Can we say "BIBLE BELT"?!?

Riverman1
84084
Points
Riverman1 08/19/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
BananaBarry, he is a Mafia

BananaBarry, he is a Mafia criminal? Didn't know that. You must know something I can't find on Google or are you just making fun of his name?

ibeenhosed
0
Points
ibeenhosed 08/19/09 - 09:07 am
0
0
i think all the comments

i think all the comments should be sent to commissioners about this article before the next time they vote because it sure seems like they dont read the paper are they know how people think,they are beating a dead horse to death

peace4784
117
Points
peace4784 08/19/09 - 09:09 am
0
0
It's hard to believe there
Unpublished

It's hard to believe there are so many Americans walking around with there head in their sphincter. Criminals are controlling every government in this world. Why do you think governments have no money. The brotherhood of criminals have it all.

mable8
2
Points
mable8 08/19/09 - 09:23 am
0
0
ibeenhosed: why waste the

ibeenhosed: why waste the money for stamps, the commissioners don't know how to read in the first place! Nor do they, or certain other government officials, even care what the citizens think--they want it their way, period. Sure glad the judge decided in favor of X-mart; it could have been a different kind of business that was targeted by the commissioners--think of how it would affect other businesses the commissioners deemed "unnecessary."

GOSHEN77
0
Points
GOSHEN77 08/19/09 - 09:35 am
0
0
You know in NYC they were

You know in NYC they were able to chase away these places to a point that they almost went extinct. Maybe we need to hire some NYC lawyers.

Big_vike
1
Points
Big_vike 08/19/09 - 09:36 am
0
0
How could letting X-Mart

How could letting X-Mart re-open cause any more problems in Augusta, you can't fart in this town without people in 10 different churches smelling it, and yet we have just as much crime per capita than cities 10 times our size.

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