DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A Brookhaven business owner said the city is harassing employees and the business with frivolous tickets.
Stardust has racked up more than 500 code enforcement violations. Those violations add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and even jail time.
One employee at the business told Channel 2’s Liz Artz she alone received 210 citations, just because she happened to be working at the time code enforcement came in.
The city claimed it's a sexually-oriented business, but the owners said that's simply not true.
Inside Stardust, you'll find things like high heels, swimsuits, lingerie and massage lotions. But it's what's tucked away in the back of the store that has the city of Brookhaven so upset.
Michael Morrison said the adult items consist of 15 percent of his merchandise -- well within the city's legal parameter of 35 percent.
"We are not a sexually-orientated business and to go take a eight or nine dollar an hour worker and give them 500 tickets is just insanity,” Morrison said.
Aiesha Eaton is a minimum-wage store clerk who now faces tens of thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time for 210 citations she said she received from Brookhaven's code violation division.
She said the city has sent someone to the store daily.
"Monday through Friday. [So they came in every single day?] Yes ma'am, for six months,” Eaton said.
“In 2014, to be citing Stardust for something you could buy in two key strokes on the Internet is just crazy. There are worse things to worry about and I think law enforcement has a much bigger task ahead of them instead of giving us a hard time," Morrison said.
The city is arguing Stardust is a sexually-oriented business. Morrison is fighting back with a lawsuit. Stardust has been flourishing on Buford Highway for a year and Morrison thinks that's a good thing.
“This is not Beverly Hills, this is an economically recessed area that is trying to improve itself and this building was vacant for a couple of years before we opened," Morrison said.
Eaton said code enforcement told her she had to have a license to sell merchandise at the store. Artz contacted the city of Brookhaven but officials had no comment on pending litigation.
All sides will have their day in court on the citations in August.
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