Discriminatory policy will force nightclubs serving diverse clientele to close
Mayor called to answer for ordinance’s negative impact on tax revenue, jobs, and public safety
The DeKalb Event Center, Inc. d/b/a Mansion Elan, today filed a 66-page complaint against the City of Chamblee, Georgia asserting it is a victim of a discriminatory policy aimed at exclusively shutting down nightclubs that cater to African American, Hispanic, and Asian clientele. The African-American owned business, which holds a reputation as a safe, law-abiding corporate citizen, has operated on Clairmont Road for thirteen years and pays approximately $200,000 in City and State taxes annually. The Mansion hosts hip-hop themed events primarily from Thursday through Sunday and employs approximately 100 people, including waitresses, bartenders, valet and security among others.
The complaint states: “In particular, the City designed its Ordinance No. 745 (“new Ordinance” or “Ordinance 745”) to unreasonably and artificially restrict the business on Sundays, historically the Mansion’s busiest night, such that it cannot effectively serve its clientele. The Mansion will lose over 50% of its revenue and faces the threat of being forced out of business.”
“Chamblee’s Mayor, City Council, and predominately white political leadership took a disturbing and unprecedented step by suddenly changing rules. This ordinance restricts the Mansion’s ability to do business on their most profitable night,” said Leron Rogers, Partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. “The fact that this ordinance solely targets establishments like The Mansion – that serve a minority clientele – speaks to the fundamental issue of fairness and equality.”
In addition to facing Ordinance 745, The Mansion also paid a hefty fee to renew its 2018 annual license, which was significantly increased from the prior year. The new policies do not impose similar restrictions on businesses frequented by white customers, including local restaurants that play music and serve as a late night social destination for young patrons.
Ordinance 745 will also negatively affect approximately ten similarly situated minority-owned businesses. Should the measure be enforced, an additional $1.5 Million in City and State tax revenue will be lost annually, as well as more than 500 jobs.
“How will Mayor Clarkson replace lost revenue to the City? The answer is increased property taxes,” Rogers added. “Beyond lost jobs and revenue, the citizens of Chamblee should also question Ordinance 745’s impact on public safety and crime. Nearby venues are already overcrowded on weekends. It’s reasonable to consider the potentially detrimental effect of closing down the area’s most popular social hubs.”
The Mansion is part of a proud tradition of large entertainment venues that cater to blacks and Hispanics across metro Atlanta. Over the past decade, the club has hosted a diverse mix of some of the world’s most famous hip-hop, R&B and soul artists, including Drake, Jay Z, Sean “Puffy” Combs and Migos, to name a few.
To read the full complaint, Case 1: 18-cv-02739-TWT, click here.
About Lewis Brisbois:
Established in 1979, Lewis Brisbois is a national, full-service law firm with more than 1,200 attorneys and offices in 42 cities and 26 states. Our national practice is sophisticated, multi-faceted, and well-versed in current legal trends, while our individual state practices provide vast resources and knowledge of procedural and legal nuances.
For more information regarding Leron Rogers, please contact Marketing Director Martin Hughes at Martin.Hughes@lewisbrisbois.com.