Kirkwood Bar & Grill Appeals Liquor License Rejection

In 57-page filing, bar owner David Johnson says Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was wrong to deny him a liquor license.

The owner of the appealed Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's rejection of his liquor license for the embattled establishment, which has been conduit for controversy for nearly a year.

In a 57-page filing, Alan I. Begner, who represents bar owner David Johnson, alleges that Reed made numerous errors in denying the liquor license in January.

The appeal, filed Feb. 24 in Fulton County Superior Court, follows Begner's Feb. 17 letter to the mayor asking him to reconsider the Jan. 26 rejection.

"Mayor Reed has grossly abused his discretion and failed to perform his official duty to issue an alcohol license to Mr. Johnson and Kirkwood, which failure has caused a defect of legal justice," the filing reads. "Mayor Reed's denial of an alcohol license to Mr. Johnson and Kirkwood is arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable."

The filing, which notes that the License Review Board recommended that the mayor approved the application, cites 12 areas in which the mayor erred in the denial.

Among them:

  • The grounds used to deny the alcohol license are unconstitutionally vague.
  • There is no evidence to support Mayor Reed's denial of the alcohol license.
  • Mayor Reed erred in his decision to deny the Alcohol License because his denial was not based on any ascertainable standards.

Sonji Jacobs Dade, Reed's spokeswoman, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment late Wednesday, but in January, she said the mayor rejected the application for the bar after "carefully considering neighborhood concerns that have been brought to him."

Earl Williamson, chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit-O, which represents the interests of the Kirkwood, Edgewood and East Lake communities, said he had no immediate comment because had not yet seen the filing.


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