Brookhaven, GA, November 4, 2014 – On an evening where most people were glued to the television watching the 2014 Election results come in, The City of Brookhaven was holding an important City Council meeting.
During the meeting, Brookhaven’s City Council voted 3-1 to ink an “Exit Transition Agreement” with the Pink Pony.
Councilman Bates Mattison made the motion to approve the agreement and Councilman Joe Gebbia seconded the motion. Councilwoman Williams was the lone dissenting vote.
This six year agreement will cost the Pink Pony $225,000 per year – payable to the Brookhaven Police Department to be used to pay for the added cost of policing, enforcing the agreement and controlling any potential negative secondary effects of the club.
The Pink Pony will have to pay all legal fees, capped at $283,000, the city has incurred in the litigation and drafting the agreement. Upon acceptance of the agreement, the Pink Pony will pay an initial payment of $47,000, then recurring payments moving forward until the balance is satisfied.
The club will be donating land along the Peachtree Creek that runs along the clubs property. The club has also agreed to pay up to $75,000 for the city to build a linear park, as well as paying a portion of the surveying costs.
Councilwoman Williams said, “I am still opposed to it, I thinks it’s a bad deal for the City. I’m personally skeptical that the club will come into compliance after 6 years, but I’m hoping they are true to their word.”
Councilman Mattison said he wished Williams had the same regard for the taxpayers money that has been spent defending the litigation. “This was an issue that was unfortunate for the city. After a long tedious battle, I hope that tonight this is a step forward.”
“As a businessman I think there is a certain amount of respect to be given to businesses in Brookhaven that were in existence before Brookhaven became a City – even if we don’t agree entirely with what they do,” said Councilman Gebbia. “This is a step forward. I was initially opposed to any fee being charged to the Pink Pony. But after listening to our Police Chief and the need to provide extra police support, this is exactly what this money will be used for. It is not going in to the General Fund as a profit to the City. This is not bribe money. This is not a payoff.”
Mayor J Max Davis said this was a really hard issue for the City and that the City is not looking the other way on this issue. “We are pleased that this agreement stops any pending litigation and any future litigation over the City’s Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance. I’d like the citizens to know that although it may have seemed like we were not listening, I can assure you that it wasn’t that we didn’t want to engage the citizens. Our hands were tied because we were in litigation,” said Davis. “We are extremely relieved and pleased that we can now heighten our focus on parks, planning and police, which is the reason Brookhaven exists.”
Councilwoman Williams said that she stayed out of the meetings negotiating the deal, but did make a suggestion that got included. Her suggestion was, “The Pink Pony agrees before the end of the 6-year term, if it is not in compliance and is closing, that it will provide job placement services for its adult entertainers. In addition, the staff will be trained on the subject of sex trafficking.”
Attorney for the Pink Pony, Aubrey Villines said he was pleased with the progress the two parties have been able to make during the negotiations. “We are all glad to have all of this behind us. I think the City Council did their best to put the wishes of the residents of Brookhaven in to an agreement. We will go forward and continue to be good neighbors and work with each other along the way.”
The full agreement is embedded below.