The Love Library

After failing to get a business license from the city of Rome, The Love Library Express, planned for 404 Tribune Street, is abandoning plans to open a storefront on Tribune Street downtown. / John Popham

Store manager Drew Haynes is directing questions about the company's plans to Cary S. Wiggins of Wiggins Law Group.

In a letter to City Clerk Joe Smith dated Friday, Wiggins questioned a delay in issuing a business license for The Love Library Express at 404 Tribune St. Merchandise already has been moved into the storefront, which is a block off Broad Street near the Forum River Center and Town Green.

“I am not aware of any grounds to deny the business license, and I am concerned that the City is stalling approval until some time after, if ever, a new (sexually oriented business) ordinance is adopted,” Wiggins wrote.

It is settled law in Georgia, he continued, that any application must be evaluated under the ordinances in place when it's submitted.

The Rome City Commission is slated to hold a first reading today on an amendment to its ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses. The special called meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 601 Broad St.

Plans are to adopt the ordinance at a second special called meeting Tuesday.

Wiggins said in his letter that he is “kindly asking” that the city either issue a business license immediately or provide a written basis for not doing so. He notes that the company can't get a sign permit without one and said federal law considers that an invalid act of prior restraint.

“But again, our goal here is not to pursue constitutional torts; our goal is simply to obtain the permits the business rightfully deserves,” he wrote.

The agenda for tonight's session contains no business other than the first reading, but it lists Janet Bearoff as a guest speaker.

Bearoff is one of the parties locked in a complicated and lengthy legal battle with Charles Craton III, who owned Entice Adult Superstore in Shannon before it went bankrupt in 2015. The Georgia Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case Wednesday afternoon.

The Love Library is the business name for Retail Investments, USA, LLC, according to Wiggins' letter. The company’s organizer was Charles Craton of 27 Pear St. in Rome, according to documents filed with the Secretary of State Corporations Division in late 2017.

Entice was the business name for High Five Investments, which also was registered at the Pear Street address. Bearoff was listed as the largest creditor when Entice filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11.

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