Risky Business files federal lawsuit against Crow Wing County
A Brainerd retail store that sells sexually explicit inventory is taking Crow Wing County to federal court over guidelines in the county’s sexually oriented businesses ordinance.
Ronald Beattie Jr., owner of Risky Business Novelties and Videos Inc., which is located at 326 Washington St., Brainerd, filed the lawsuit against the county Nov. 26 in U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, calling the county’s ordinance unconstitutional.
Beattie’s attorney Randall Tigue of Randall Tigue Law Office in Golden Valley said that Beattie has had no problems living within Brainerd city’s ordinances since the novelty store opened in 2005. Tigue said that the new county ordinance forces Beattie to blacken his windows, pay license fees and reduce store hours.
Tigue alleges that the only reason why Risky Business falls under the county ordinance is because the store doesn’t allow children on the premises. Tigue said under state law, Risky Business could allow children to enter the store as long as the adult materials are sealed. Tigue said Risky Business doesn’t want to allow children into the store as that would bring more liability to the store, such as accidently selling tobacco to a minor.
“He’d rather not admit minors,” said Tigue.
The Crow Wing County Board adopted its sexually oriented businesses ordinance on April 10, repealing its existing adult uses and sexually-oriented business ordinance and amending the adult use section of the county’s land use control ordinance. The ordinance creates a situation where the county could prohibit something previously allowed within a city’s limits.
The county’s attorney, Scott Anderson of Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney of Minneapolis, said there are a number of reasons why Risky Business falls under the county ordinance, which includes being a retail novelty store that sells sexually-orientated adult toys.
Under the newly county ordinance, the types of businesses meeting the description include adult body painting studio, adult bookstores, exotic dancing, massage parlors, novelty businesses and businesses where dancers or performers are exposing specific anatomical areas.
Anderson said he could not comment on the allegations that Beattie would have to blacken his windows, pay license fees or reduce his hours. Anderson said he’s reviewing the case and evaluating Beattie’s claims and said at this time things are on hold, regarding Beattie following the newly county ordinance guidelines.
In the federal lawsuit filed against the county, it states that Risky Business has not been considered either an “adult establishment” or an “adult bookstore” within the meaning of the Brainerd ordinance. The city of Brainerd and Risky Business came to a proposed agreement that the term “substantial or significant portion” would be used for the sexually explicit inventory that Risky Business segregated in a separate room.
“As a result, there is no basis for believing that it means anything other than what it meant under the superseded Brainerd City Ordinance,” the complaint reports referring to Risky Business being defined as an adult bookstore. “However, unlike the situation under the City of Brainerd ordinance, plaintiff’s use becomes an ‘adult bookstore’ solely by virtue of the fact that the plaintiff, ... excludes minors from its premises because of age.”