Bridal shop owner gets probation for serving champagne drinks

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  For the first time since her arrest, Judy Wilkinson is speaking out about being the target of an undercover police operation at her Formal Elegance bridal shop in North Columbus.

Police say four complaints-including two from a former employee- tipped them off that champagne was being served to customers in the drink called mimosa without the proper licensure.

"My mouthwash has more alcohol content than my mimosas," she said outside of Columbus Recorder's Court, "Someone's tried to make a joke out of my reputation and that's just unacceptable."

A judge found her guilty of violating the city's alcohol ordinance and sentenced her to 30 days probation.

"The court found that the city's case was airtight. We proved our case beyond a reasonable doubt that Miss Wilkinson violated the city ordinance that requires businesses that deal in alcohol or possess alcohol to get a city alcohol license," said Jaimie Deloach, Assistant City Attorney for Columbus.

Wilkinson admits the probation is a slap on the wrist but her attorney says the ordinance is unconstitutional and should be changed. That's why they're filing an appeal in the case.

"I can't fathom how many other businesses and business owners could be raided as Miss Wilkinson was last Saturday and be arrested on this same ordinance for possessing alcohol," said Benjamin Wilcox, her lawyer.

"I could walk out of court today and not pay a penny out of my own pocket but I owe it to the citizens and I am moving forward with this in the form of an appeal," Wilkinson said.

"The bottom line is- the law is the law and alcohol is actually a dangerous substance that needs to be regulated," Deloach added.

Wilkinson's attorney says the case has been transferred to state court now that he has filed an appeal.

When asked if her arrest has impacted her role on West Point's City Council on which she is a member, Wilkinson said she could not comment.

Our calls to the West Point Mayor's Office were not returned.

Wilkinson says from now on, she will be serving what she calls "faux-mosas" to her customers a non-alcoholic version of a mimosa.

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