Work it out – Judge orders agreement in lounge case

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 8, 2014
A picture of Hosea Williams, left, and Franklin Morris, right, that hangs in the Morris' Restaurant and Lounge in Kirkwood.

A picture of Hosea Williams, left, and Franklin Morris, right, that hangs in the Morris’ Restaurant and Lounge in Kirkwood.

The owners of the Morris Restaurant and Lounge and their neighbors met in Atlanta Municipal Court on May 8 for a hearing about a noise complaint against the Kirkwood business.

Judge Herman Sloan ordered the two parties to work together to resolve their differences about noise and come back to him in 90 days with a written agreement.

Franklin B. Morris pleaded “no contest” to charges that he played music too loudly on the night of April 5. One of the Lounge’s neighbors, Maria Guida, called the police that night. She showed up to the May 8 hearing with other supporters who say the Lounge needs to clean up its act.

The owners of the lounge and their neighbors have been feuding for months about the club’s activities. Morris Restaurant is a historically black-owned business that has been in business on Oakview Road since the 1960′s. The business is owned by the family of the late Franklin Morris, who neighbors say never gave them any trouble. Since his sons – Franklin and Roosevelt – took it over, the restaurant has gotten louder and rowdier, the neighbors say. Roosevelt has said he feels that that Kirkwood’s gentrification is driving out black-owned businesses like his.

During the May 8 hearing, Franklin Morris kept his opinions about his neighbors’ motivations to himself.

“We have met with them and we have put forth all the requirements that (Atlanta Police) Zone 6 required of us. I think that …,” he told the judge, before stopping himself. “I’m not going to go there.”

Sloan said he could impose fines of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, but withheld sentencing.

“Bring back an agreement between you and the neighbors as to how this will be resolved,” Sloan said.  “That will influence what I do.”

As he left the courtroom, Franklin Morris said he was skeptical he could find common ground with the neighbors.

“I’m going to sit down with him one more time and see if we can resolve this issue,” he said.

Guida said the noise and rowdy behavior has continued since the April 5 incident. She said, “We’re willing to do whatever we can to get the music turned down.”

“We want to be able to enjoy our property when they’re open or when they’re not,” Guida said.

For the previous article about this case, click here.

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